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"By the way, I'd never heard your band before, but the, ahem, "conversation" at the party certainly made you memorable. I looked your band up and listened to your music right after I looked up "impact" and "utilize"."

what did you think? my favorite off the new album is oh lately its so quiet and also good idea at the time


Wow...parties in Ohio consist of getting sh*tfaced followed by shopping cart races down the street at 2am. Too much fancy talk for me. :P

Let It Rain, Let It Pour....


"Use" and "utilize" have similar meanings, but they are not exactly the same. Therefore there is need for both words. I think that's really all you need to know.


Rumor has it that Prince says, "Damian isn't very good at utilizing his jaw muscles and gives lousy head when on tour in Minnesota"!


While this has nothing to do with the previous, may i point out how insanely lazy the english language has become? Words like "fro-yo" are ACTUALLY being put in the dictionary! Just fucking say frozen yogurt! How many times does one say frozen yogurt in their lifetime that it needs to be shortened anyways?


While this has nothing to do with the previous comment, may i point out how insanely lazy the english language has become? Words like "fro-yo" are ACTUALLY being put in the dictionary! Just fucking say frozen yogurt! How many times does one say frozen yogurt in their lifetime that it needs to be shortened anyways?


weird. That last comment posted by "Jack" was actually posted by me, Hanna....hmmm


hah and a "jack" hasnt even posted on here.


No no no...the poster's name is on the bottom of their post. That got me confused too.


"While this has nothing to do with the previous, may i point out how insanely lazy the english language has become? Words like "fro-yo" are ACTUALLY being put in the dictionary! Just fucking say frozen yogurt! How many times does one say frozen yogurt in their lifetime that it needs to be shortened anyways?"

"Fro-yo" is a word now??? Gah, modern American English IS really lazy. It's disgusting.

Yay for Anna discovering OK Go! That's why half of us are here- el webmaster de OK Go commanded us to comment, haha.


I didn't read past the third post so I doubt anyone is going to read this... But Damian, if you were my English teacher I'd keep showing up for help even when I did well. And when you'd try and send me away I'd just say 'But I didn't get 100%' and come off as an officious ass trying to hard to utilize ..her teachers?


What I can't stand the most about this supposed "heated" debate over two words is the EXCESSIVE amounts of grammatical and spelling errors on behalf of SEVERAL of your self-proclaimed grammar/word nazis. And speaking of being PRETENTIOUS, making it a point that the world "utilize" can be replaced in every situation with the word "use" is pretentious in itself. I find that the example given at the very top (with the teachers) is means enough as to how the sentence meaning is contingent on the usage of the word "utilize".

But again, I would like to reiterate the hypocrisy of some of these comments left. Love the language. Don't butcher it.


I agree with the previous: criticizing people’s misuse of language via misused language is hypocritical (as is adding yet another argument here with the intent to oppose redundancy, but I guess I’m doing it anyway).

Here’s my problem with “utilize:” even if it does have a second meaning that is slightly different from that of “use,” it most frequently appears as nothing more than “use” reincarnated into an awkwardly ostentatious multisyllabic monstrosity. Synonyms are fine when they have unique artistic/linguistic merits, and unusual words are valuable when they allow you to express ideas more clearly or completely. But “utilize” fits neither of these criteria: it’s redundant (when used simply as a replacement "use") rather than innovative, and obscuring rather than clarifying. Which makes “utilize” pretty useless.

However, the real reason “utilize” is so nauseating is because of the reason it is most often used: as a shallow attempt at eloquence. When you utilize “utilize,” you’re just publicly announcing that you find it neccessitatious to establishmentalize an interestinginestly academicaniacalle image. You will only make your argument/statement more obfuscatorianly and less creditiabilitible, and you will seem desperatious to appear perspicacious (unfortunately, that one’s an actual word).

I suppose what this whole argument has proven is that you shouldn’t use said (but preferably unsaid) word without understanding the implications: people (like me) will judge you, you will appear pretentious, you will invoke an involuntary “ugh!” from any English majors in your general area, and your word choice may be subject to a meticulous massacre. “Utilize” at your own risk.


I leik wurds. Their Awsoime. I wuz the speeling-B champ @ mi skool.

Have a Decemberlicious day.

You Go Girl

Just thought I would diverge from all this debate about "use" versus "utilize" to comment on the lousy "usability" of putting a dotted line separator between the poster's name and his or her comments. Owners of the blog or its underlying software take note - you definitely should have seen that one coming, and a fix is in order.

That said, the most important takeaway point for all readers of this thread is that the only way to truly appreciate Damian's linguistic skill is to purchase a copy of the album "Oh No" for your listening enjoyment.

(Jorge, as a fellow marketer, Webmaster and OK Go fan, do I get any points for that?)


somehow very unintelligent people found this.


I appologize to Girlinthedark if my comment prompted the "unintelligent people" comment [if it didn't, ignore me; or, just ignore me now and save yourself the trouble]. I like to pretend I'm witty when I'm not... at all. Besides, bloging brings out the worst in me, both mentally and because of the fact that I never stop typing (as the length of this post will surely show).

That being said, anything I bring to this entire blogfight will appear redundant simply because of the large number of people who have weighed in on the subject before me (with all these people, surely someone must have said what I think and any further discussion on my part would be moot... is that spelled right? I'm an awful speller).

So, I would like to ask something that has been bothering me for a while; it's not a question of words, but of grammar. Seeing as my school district seems to love keeping us students in the dark about grammar, rather, leaving us to fend for ourselves in the grammatical world (the sheer number of grammar books on my shelves can attest to this fact), I really have never learned verb tenses or anything remotely of the kind... except for in French. However, knowing "le subjontif" will not aid me in writing, say, a blog entry... unless said blog entry is in French... which it usually isn't...

But I've deviated from my point entirely.

Simply asked: What is the past perfect (I think that's what it's called) for "drink."

I've spent a 3 hour bus-ride with a group of students and all were unable to come to any real point...

Is it "would have drunk" or "would have drank" or something totally different? Any help you could give me would be awesome.

[I appologize in advance for the triviality of the question; but really, it has been bugging me].


Amy, "would have drunk/drank" is passive voice, which is frowned upon in English compositional types of things (using the two verbs in the past tense).


Ooooh, I see. Thank you Jane. I really am clueless when it comes to grammar/language in general. I blame the school system a lot, I know, but I do feel they're partially (at least) guilty for my inability to use/utilize (take your pick) words effectively.

(It's really like someone turning off all the lights in a room, at midnight, then expecting you to complete a jigsaw puzzle... which is unpleasant and usually results in someone getting jabbed in the eye, namely me.)

Thanks again. I'll be sure to avoid the mistake in the future. However, assuming that one was interrupted from a task one was about to complete... how would one express this to another without being grammatically incorrect? (If ___ had not happened... I would have ___?) Or is that still passive? I know that this occurs in French with the past conditional and plus-que-parfait (si j'avais fait ça, je serais allée... please excuse my pathetic attempt at french, by the way), but I'm not certain.


Passive voice: "If he had not fallen down, I would have kissed him."
Active voice: "He fell down, so I didn't kiss him."

(Something like that, grammer usage isn't my strong point)

It's passive voice because the subject passively received the action. Sometimes it can be confusing, as to who commited the action. Sometimes politians use it: "There were many mistakes made." or something, and it doesn't tell you who made the mistakes..

Anyway, passive voice can be avoided by not using (nor utilizing) different forms of "to be" (is, are, am , was, were, has been, have been, had been, will be, will have been, being).


I see. I tend to muddle my languages. I'm not extremely adept at French, nor am I a master of the English language (which is rather pathetic). I appreciate the help and will be sure to avoid this messy passive voice business in the future.

Different topic...said at the risk that it has already been covered at length in above comments: Does anyone else find a strange delight in discovering words that just roll off the lounge? They don't have to be "large" or "fancy," but you find yourself saying these words simply because, well, they're fun to say?

My recent favorites include: Paleontological, Masticated, and Adage.

I think reading David Ives's "A Singular Kinda Guy" where a man convinces himself he is a typewriter; he uses this to justify his love for words: "-like 'vastation.' Or 'phenomenological.' Or 'subcutaneous.' Words are what a typewriter's all about, right?"

Just a thought.

Again, have a Decemberlicious day.


Aaaannnd, I realized I started a thought in that last paragraph and never finished it. I meant to say,
"I think this was brought on by David Ives's "A Singular Kinda Guy," a play where a man convinces himself he is a typewriter and uses this idea of being a typewriter to justify his love for words: "-like 'vastation.' Or 'phenomenological.' Or 'subcutaneous.' Words are what a typewriter's all about, right?""

Sorry about my grammar/sentance structure. See? I am rather incompetent.


To make up for my grammatical ineptitude (and also simply because I'm a blogging addict), I felt like sharing this tiny fact that really amused me for a good, oh, five minutes:

The origin of the term "O.K" came from typists who, as a joke, would put "Oll Korrect" at the top of papers.

Oh those silly typists.

Evan J. Mathiasen

For some reason (well because I really like Ok Go) I feel it neccessary to write on this little blog thing. Now, I'm not educated at Brown but it seems to me, that "utilize" isn't utilized enough. If anything utilizing it more often would make much more sense than using use. One, if it does make you sound smart, then utilize it to bulster you already magnificant ego. Thus making you look like an ass to those that aren't as smart as you. Which brings me to my point, which will more likely than not be lost by my confusing ramble, I say "Just use the word 'usalize.'" A mixture of the two may bring both worlds together. And in the words of a musician I can't remember the name of right now, "It's a small world after all..." (which is totally out of context here).


People have discussed how language is getting lazy these days; well, if you ask me, what is making people lazy is that we believe that having a good vocabulary is s sign of pretension. My english lit teacher always told me that if you can use a more common word then you should. I really don't understand that. There are a number of words to describe very similar things because it allows you to be specific. Why would I say “blue” when I really mean “azure”? I believe that the reason utilize has become a replacement for use is because people have avoided "pretentious words" like the plague, and in doing so changed the meanings of perfectly acceptable words. Without word variation language would stop being beautiful. Imagine T.S. Eliot’s poetry in newspeak... tragedy. Instead of worrying about whether or not a word should be banned we should fix the way people misuse words, that somehow seems more important. For example, impacted vs impact anyone?

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