STOP!!! Going Forward...
I love a lot of things.
I don't hate much. When motorists park facing the wrong way and street basketball hoops are two; both being instances of perceived entitlement.
But more than the above two combined, I hate the meaningless expression “going forward”!
Thankfully, it is usually only used verbally; you’d have to be really dumb to use it in the written word. Going forward is purported to mean “in the future”, but it seems to be an attempt to avoid these words. It seems to mean “I don't know right now”. The local weather person used it twice in her short report just this morning.
You’ve heard it used, but your recollection of its use may be sketchy; the expression is redundant and vacuous so it may have slipped by you.
The dreaded phrase is almost always used as a superfluous “filler” when the speaker needs to sound knowledgeable and/or important, such as “our strategy going forward.” What is a strategy if not forward-looking? Or, it is randomly tacked onto the end of a sentence, as in: “Let’s talk about that tomorrow, going forward.”
Even venerated institutions use it. Actually, they are the worst. A report – yes, a written report -- by the US Federal Reserve stated “Increased uncertainty has the potential to restrain economic growth going forward.” The last two words should be simply left out!
Newscasters and the aforementioned meteorologist-types, who should know better, are some of the worst offenders. The talking heads will often use this expression to maintain the cadence of their delivery when better words – or none at all – fail.
The battle against this expression is lost. Many have fought valiantly against it, including journalist Lucy Kellaway in the UK. In defeat, Kellaway cited the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in a speech he gave to, get this, persuade the financial sector to drop its convoluted traditional prose style. Kellaway was devastated by the chair’s use of the expression in his sentence “Still, although the learning curve will certainly flatten as we go forward, this year it was steep.” She lamented the fact that a decent wordsmith such as the chair should say this in a speech that was intended to promote plain English.
Another venerated institution, the (British) Institution of Silly and Meaningless Sayings, kept a "going-forward-ometer" until they gave up, exasperated, months later, after breaking their going-forward-ometer while recording hundreds of instances.
We cannot win going forward. The fight is indeed lost. Now, about that basketball hoop…
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Craig retired in 2015 and has been writing ever since. And boy, is his hand tired.