13 quotations showing how ‘utilize’ can weaken sentences

Corporate communications often contain jargon and needlessly complex verbs. One writer shows how silly the term can sound.

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Consider “implement,” “leverage,” “disseminate,” “promulgate” and the most impotent verb of them all, “utilize.”

Like many PR Daily readers, I’ve spent much of my career translating corporate-speak into clear, comprehensible English. I’ve changed “utilize” to “use” more times than I can count.

No matter how many times I explain that “use” is preferred—that it’s simpler and less pretentious—someone insists on using “utilize” because it “sounds better.” The “bigger words will make me sound smarter” myth strikes again.

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To demonstrate how ridiculous use of the verb “utilize” is, below are quotations in which “use” is replaced with the offending verb:

1. “Utilize it or lose it.”—Jimmy Connors

2. “Utilize the force, Luke.”—Obi-Wan Kenobi

3. “Never utilize a long word when a short one will do.”—George Orwell

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