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My pet hates 7 – going forward…

The phrase “going forward” is one of those clichés that have spread like swine flu over the past several years and it now is a staple of newspeak and business, academic and political communication. In speech and in writing, many people today find it impossible to complete a sentence without adding “going forward” for no logical reason whatsoever.

Usually this formulation is used in connection with a future tense as in: “We plan to do this going forward.” Why? We’ve got future tenses to indicate that we are going forward.

Probably the first time I came upon the offending words in writing was in a Financial Times news analysis in May 2007. It was about Microsoft’s future and an Internet analyst was quoted as saying:

“To survive going forward, Microsoft needs to have a robust online strategy …”

How about: “To survive, Microsoft needs to have a robust online strategy …”

The phrase is redundant, an example of mind-numbing tautology. Removing those two words won’t alter the meaning of a sentence. It merely shortens it and nobody would notice.

But we are not talking logic here. “Going forward” clings to the tongues of speakers compelling them to utter it again and again. It has become a grown up-equivalent of the word “like”, which seems to trip off the tongue of the average teenager every two or three waking seconds.

A quick search for “going forward” on Google yielded over 8 million results.

There is even a company called “Going Forward OH&S Services PTY LTD”. It provides occupational health and safety services to employers.

I think it is impossible to rid the world of “going forward”. It’s up there with clichés such as “it’s not rocket science” and “thinking outside the box”.

This horrid phrase is with us going forward…

I welcome your comments.

Rolf Soderlind

http://www.absolutwriting.com/ absolutwriting

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One comment on “My pet hates 7 – going forward…

  1. This one seems to be a “sentence filler”. I have used it and see it all the time in business writing. From my outlook emails:

    Ok, I think this is quite important to establish you as a modeller for bids going forward

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