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 Post subject: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 10:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 19
Location: Ann Arbor
What do you folks think about this use of the word "evolve"?<p>Over the past several months, we’ve continued to evolve the IT organizational structure to support our strategic direction.<p>or<p>We have evolved the store design...<p>This usage pops up regularly in the employee communications that I edit. It seems wrong to me, especially considering that the "evolution" referred to was a series of very deliberate changes rather than a gradual change over time. My preference is to use words like refine, modify, etc. but I can't find any reference that really supports my argument that "evolve" is mis-used here. <p>It probably doesn't matter anyway, because my influence on our CEO's wording is somewhat limited, but I feel obligated to try to change this wording if it's wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 10:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1399
Location: In the newsroom
I don't like it, but I'm not sure it's incorrect. I found examples of similar usage in our unabridged Webster's and also in the American Heritage Dictionary.<p>Seems to me the best thing to do would be to change some and leave others, if for no other reason than a little variety and to avoid sounding so jargony.


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 Post subject: Re: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 11:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 3137
Location: Homebush NSW Australia
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Andrea S:
What do you folks think about this use of the word "evolve"?<p>Over the past several months, we’ve continued to evolve the IT organizational structure to support our strategic direction.<p>.<hr></blockquote><p>
I don't care what any dictionary says. The expression is bs and the question well put.


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 Post subject: Re: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2003 1:01 am
Posts: 1324
Location: N 36° 57' 9", W 121° 24' 2"
"Verbing weirds language."<p>~ Calvin and/or Hobbes


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 Post subject: Re: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 1:01 am
Posts: 43
Location: Washington, D.C.
At least you're not helping people "office," a la Kinko's.


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 Post subject: Re: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 744
Location: HuskerLand
Have to say I don't have a problem with "evolve" in that context.<p>Organizations, being made of humans, go through some similiar organic functions, like evolving. New ideas come in, old ideas are analyzed. The number of people change, the goal changes. New policies are developed, old policies are (please!) thrown out. They're not modified from the original; they're different than the original. They've grown from the original, just like a child. So what's wrong with calling that evolving?


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 Post subject: Re: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 1:01 am
Posts: 10
Location: Michigan
Sounds to me what causes the problem is the word's use as a transitive verb ("We evolved the culture") rather an an intransitive verb ("The culture evolved").<p>It's just like the verb "to grow." "Grow" sounds fine in the transitive sense when you're talking about flowers, but silly when you're talking about revenue ("We're growing revenue" vs. "Our revenue grew").


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 Post subject: Re: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 19
Location: Ann Arbor
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by mrleemrlee:
<p>It's just like the verb "to grow." "Grow" sounds fine in the transitive sense when you're talking about flowers, but silly when you're talking about revenue ("We're growing revenue" vs. "Our revenue grew").<hr></blockquote><p>Sadly, I have to report that we "grow revenue" all the time. I don't know why we can't just "increase revenue." (I always change it when I have input, but presentations, etc. are generally out of my hands.) However, we do not "office," nor do we onboard or bug-fix, and our changes are not impactful. (All things I've changed recently in my job as jargon-buster.)


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 Post subject: Re: The use of "evolve"
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 101
Location: Inner Baltimore
I don't like "evolved" here, beyond my involuntary shudder at generic corporate babble, because it is an ill-informed choice, an overcompensation. "Developed" in this case is active and purposeful enough. "Evolved" is more specific -- and less appropriate. It's like saying "I delivered her a kiss," rather than "I gave her a kiss." <p>Well, not entirely like that, but you get the idea.


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