Friday, September 30, 2005

Effortlessly Eventful Efforting

For some reason, folks flock here to read about the word "efforting." That horrid term was in eight of the last 20 search engine queries pointing browsers here. Out of all keywords that have produced traffic for Copy Massage, "efforting" has tied (with "stories") for sixth place.

In case you missed my earlier musings on the word, see here and here.

"Efforting" has spread in the last year-and-a-half, obviously. I'm not sure why, although I have my suspicions. I doubt newspaper writers have taken to it with gusto, because grumps like me would stop them in their tracks. Thank goodness. That points us toward our friends in the broadcast media.

Although I watched little televised hurricane coverage, I expect that people were "efforting" to improve conditions in areas hit by Katrina and Rita. I expect anchors were "efforting" to get in touch with correspondents. In times of stress, people speaking off the cuff can propagate unwieldy formations. (Note this "the language is going to hell" article from the Hingham Journal.)

Viewers, unfamiliar with the word, typed it into their search engines and ended up here. Indeed, if you type "efforting" into Google, this site turns up as the ninth result. Hi there.

Don't use "efforting." Please.

The word "trying" has two syllables. It comes from a perfectly nice verb. "Efforting" has three syllables. It comes from a noun. Why would you ever use it instead of the tried-and-true"trying" ? A noun is a thing. A verb is an action. They are different.

When we write and speak, we should do so accurately, succinctly and grammatically. "Efforting" is none of those things. Please, for the love of the language and my ears, don't use it.