Enough already, stop saying ‘value add’

A newspaper columnist sets out to slay this third-generation verbal gargoyle.

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English is a fluid, malleable language that is ever changing, which I always enjoy. Until someone comes up with a stupid term like “value add.”

“Value add”—I can’t even bring myself to use the word without putting quotes of sarcasm around it. It’s one of those business words that went from being an adjective to a noun with a flick of the jargon pen. I still remember the first time I heard it. (Oh, what a fun conversation that was!)

Friend: I think your ghost-blogging service will make a great “value add” to a marketing agency’s offerings.

Me: What’s a “value add?”

Friend: It’s a thing that adds value. You know, from “value-added.”

Me: Why couldn’t you say “value-added service?”

Friend: This way is shorter.

Me: Except I hate “value-added.” You could say “be valuable.”

Friend: But … this is …

Me: Or “beneficial.” Or “useful.” Or “provide a great service.”

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