Going forward… and other mumbo jumbo

Guess the occupation of the person who said this: “It set the platform going forward for the remainder of the…”

No, it wasn’t our PM, any other politician, or some corporate bod. It was a footy player, covered in mud and sweat and gasping for air.  

Clearly mumbo-jumbo is catching. What’s wrong with saying: “It set us up for the rest of the game”? You’ve got to worry when weasel words hit the footy field.

So leave platforms for bus and train stations, or for standing on to clean the windows of multi-storey buildings (among other things). Use remainders when you’re talking about left over stuff you’re selling off cheaply (or other valid uses).

And for the love of … language (and sanity), forget any phrase involving going forward. For a start, it’s superfluous because it’s clear you’re not talking about going backward. It’s also perfectly fine to talk about the future. Even if the Mayan Calendar runs out next year, most of us are confident we have a ‘future’, so it’s okay to mention the f-word. Or am I just an eternal optimist?

Ditto for forward planning, unless you usually backward plan and you need to make the difference clear.

Let’s all relax – mean what we say, say what we mean, and lose the mumbo-jumbo. Because simple language doesn’t mean you are simple. It means you’re quite clever actually.

It also means people’s eyes won’t glaze over before they work out whether you’re talking about the footy game or fiscal policy.