This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

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01 August 2013

It's a verb, Jim, but not as we know it

Our client asked: "Is actioned a word … a debate is raging here."

Our answer:
'Actioned' has made it into the Oxford Dictionary ( - see ‘verb’ near the bottom of the entry), so in that sense it is an accepted English word. But then so have nearly 200,000 other words. Oxford just records what words have wide circulation, not whether they should. The word ‘action’ is used as a verb in management speak but not in common English. As another commentator has said, ‘it’s awkward, jarring, and just plain ugly’. In most circumstances, we could replace ‘actioned’ with a better, more descriptive, and more pleasant-sounding word.

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