If you’re a fan of this word, turn away now, because this will only upset you. I am not a fan, for one simple reason: in almost every instance, it sounds pretentious, even downright preposterous. Utilize is the word high school essay writers use to make their term paper sound smarter, and corporations use to make their services sound more complex than they really are. (Because complex costs more.) Notice how I used the verb “use” in that last sentence? Reread that sentence and say “utilize” in place of use — I rest my case.

Corporatese is a fascinating language. It seems to strive for precise articulation, yet more often confuses by convoluting the message with unnecessary complexity. For examples, visit this site to read some fabulous corporatese social media strategies, such as “Utilise social currency to amplify experiences and drive conversations.” (That one even uses “utilize” (albeit the Brit spelling), thus underscoring my point.) Granted, sometimes complex things require complex explanations, but the goal of communication is to make your message clear. Don’t utilize appropriate vocabulary to illuminate your objectives — just use the right words to make your point.

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