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Don't Miss Your Doctor's Skirmish

Jasmin Merdan

When finding new words to describe business transactions goes awry, it could lead to a very antagonistic doctor visit. Let's rein in the pompous verbosity.

What has caused this redefining of words we’ve done business with for centuries? It started when we began turning nouns into verbs. The most recent, and absurd, example of word misplay is the pompous use of the noun transition as a verb.

Yesterday, we said, “She’s changing jobs.” Today, you hear that, “She’s transitioning to a new job.” It’s twice as many words, and, surely, you realize how affected that sounds.

Why don’t people disappear anymore? Now they have “gone missing,” a grammatical train wreck and just plain silly.

So what has triggered my outburst against the current speech? A doctor’s bill. One large Memphis medical group now bills for patient “encounters.”

Not appointments, meetings, office visits or procedures, but encounters. And each is numbered. “Encounter Number 542404.”

It’s hard to imagine who did this, but I sense they didn’t consult the dictionary. Webster’s defines encounter first as, “to meet in opposition or with hostile intent; to engage in conflict; a synonym for skirmish.”

None seems consistent with seeing your doctor. Language is to make it easy for us to communicate, but we’re suffering a phase that is making the language obscure and pompous.

Don’t miss your doctor’s skirmish!

To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to http://askmalmo.com.