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The Phrase Freak: Moving Forward

The Phrase FreakThis piece of hackery is most often heard in business settings, but I’m afraid it has even crept into the hallowed halls of academe, where one is as likely to hear Latin freakery such as sui generis.

It tends to be used in one of two ways, both of which are like dragging a mailed glove over a blackboard (see video below).

The most common use is to say something like, “moving forward, this project will take us into the future, where happy unicorns and horny leprechauns will help us impact the bottom line, probably more than we’d like.” (We shall discuss “impact” in another column .) Like, at this point in time, this is an extremely silly phrase because its saying, really, moving forward in time.

But until we have invented a working time machine, we have NO CHOICE but to move forward in time. Moving backward (in time) is not an option people! And really, what self-respecting person wants to move backward, unless it’s away from some kind of danger, or an abhorrent phrase like “it is what it is”.

The other use is to segue from one topic of conversation/item in an agenda, to the next. Let’s just all agree not to do this anymore, okay? It’s torture!

Almost as torturous as this (slide forward to the 8:53 mark):


You can find it at YouTube if the embedded thingy doesn’t work.

So this one gets seven out of ten gobsmacks:
Seven out of ten gobsmacks

Like me, alltop pretends to understand Latin phrases too. Originally published in December, 2009.


  1. Silly Silly

    Well now you’re being silly. We cannot physically move back in time, or forward in time at any rate other than one second per second, but our point of view can. When viewing data, we might “go back to yesterday,” or “move quickly forward over this uninteresting interval.”

  2. ronny ronny

    Thank you for taking the lead in helping us to eradicate duuchetardy phrases. The world will be a better place for your efforts. The situation is what it is, but make no mistake – we’re moving forward.

  3. ‘Thinking outside the box’ and ‘blue sky thinking’

    Anyone who uses those should be sectioned under the mental health act.

  4. Perhaps they should be made to sit in the blue box and think about what they’ve done.

  5. […] It’s a common error (especially on MySpace) and one that is understandable. The blog is still a relatively new phenomenon (not in web years, but in the writing world), so the conventions are still shaking out. That said, this is an error in usage that we should all try to stamp out now, while there’s still time. (I’m still upset that phrase freaks and grammarians everywhere were unable to prevent the odious “proactive” or even worse, “moving forward.“) […]

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