Weekly Word(s) of Wisdom, Feb. 24, 2015

Jargon! It’s the bane of an editor’s existence. Writers are often the culprits, but broadcasters aren’t immune, as today’s example illustrates.

In fact, it was CBC Radio’s Ontario Today program that suggested this week’s jargon term to beware: Unpack. The host used it in promoting an upcoming discussion of Ontario’s new sex education curriculum.

Yes, folks, the verb that was once used largely in conjunction with suitcases is now commonly employed as a synonym for explain, or explore in greater detail. I shudder.

Please, literate colleagues everywhere, cease and desist from using unpack in this fashion. Return it to the realm where it belongs: among moving boxes stacked in the living room or suitcases that are calling out to you in your suite at a warm, sunny beach resort. (It is February, after all.)

Edit yourself, before those of us with red pencils and track-changes features are forced to do it for you!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Weekly Word(s) of Wisdom, Feb. 24, 2015

  1. Elaine, this is great. I heard the phrase, “unpack” used the wrong way for the first time in a personal awareness-building video produced by an U.S. – based personal coach and motivational speaker. Her delivery was otherwise so good and relaxed that when she said she would shortly “unpack” her three messages, I did not wince. It sounded so hands on and methodical that I filed the term in my memory. Having read your cautionary note, I will leave it in the suitcase for good. It connotes venting or losing control, at least to me.

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