Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Concerning, adj. = 'worrisome'

Well, I haven't tilted at the usage windmills much of late, so …

I've noticed several times lately the use of 'concerning' for 'worrisome', like "our enrollments are concerning". (That's a real example but UNrelated to linguistics at UW, where enrollments are very very healthy.)

It's not new, for sure, and it isn't quite flying under the usage radar (see here). Still, I don't recall the Peevologists going after it. Have I been asleep at the wheel?*


*Yeah, OK, that's how I ended up in the hospital, missing a month of blogging, but that's another post.

8 comments:

The Caretaker said...

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Best Regards,
Jeff

The Ridger, FCD said...

Hmmm. That worries me -> that is worrying (or worrisome) = That concerns me -> that is concerning. (concernsome?)

Interesting. I know I've heard it, but I can't remember ever remarking on it.

TootsNYC said...

I don't have any problem w/ that word in that usage, though.

Does that make me a linguist?

Mr. Verb said...

Well, Toots, I hereby declare you a Linguist! Your membership card is in the mail.

There's actually a serious subtext there about the importance of a big tent approach to defining ourselves as a field, but that's far too serious for this moment.

Welcome on board.

Terry O'Day said...

It has been driving me crazy - I hear it a lot in business discussions.

Ted said...

I hate the usage of 'concerning' as an adjective. I have been hearing it a lot, all of a sudden, in medicine in particular. For example, instead of "the symptoms are concerning," it should be "the symptoms cause concern." I wish someone more articulate than I would take a stab at making an argument against it ... unless, of course, I am to be corrected.

Mr. Verb said...

Well, it's just a word that's changing in usage. I don't say it but hear it often. If I was editing something with it, I'd probably change it for an academic audience, but everybody understands it and it's very widely used in informal contexts. I suspect it'll be accepted over time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for perfectly expressing this pet peeve of mine. The currently popular and incorrect use of this word grates on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. Your argument was perfectly articulate. If only people would realize that the use of 'concerning' as an adjective is just plain wrong!