Once in a while, out of curiosity, I take a hopeful glance at the web sites of institutions that may possibly be resisting, or at least avoiding, America’s decline into Dudespeak – the careless, vague, faddish, infantile diction of dudes and bimbos.
The other day, I read the web page for Harvard University’s Undergraduate Program in Applied Mathematics, a plausible place to expect serious grown-up diction.
Plausible but wrong, it turns out.
The person who wrote the page used the faddish impacts (n.) instead of effects.
He used interest (n.) and interests (n.), then apparently noticed that he had neglected to use the faddish passion, then quickly corrected this failure to conform.
At the end of the text, the writer inserted an “aw-shucks” disclaimer of elitism:
Graduates go on to careers in wide ranging fields, including business, law, medicine, academics, and well, just about anything.
I won’t bother to point out the grammar errors.
The Takeaway: If you want to be taken seriously and be perceived as a grown-up, you need to use grown-up diction. Avoid ingenuousness, coyness, silliness, faddishness and frivolousness – save them for parties.