On business English

Friday 20 November 2009

I’ve noticed in the office, people often refer to meetings with just an adjective phrase, letting “meeting” be implied: “I have to go, I have a 2:00”. Why don’t we carry this to its logical extreme? Let’s just say things like,

I have to get ready for the weekly.

Lunch has to be quick, I have to get back for a boring.

I think I’m going to skip the pointless.


Claudio A. Heckler 6:26 AM on 20 Nov 2009


On the same topic: MS's Raymond Chen's excellent blog, "The Old New Thing", has a whole category dedicated to documenting "Microspeak", with some priceless entries:


Florian 6:31 AM on 20 Nov 2009

Wow, for once I'm glad to hear German in the office, never heard anything like that here.

Dmitry 7:04 AM on 20 Nov 2009

Typical excuse for not attending would be "Sorry, I have accidentally our daily"

Ken Whitesell 7:14 AM on 20 Nov 2009

Around here, we actually use the first two you listed. We don't use the third, because the phrase "pointless meeting" is redundant.

Harish Mallipeddi 7:18 AM on 20 Nov 2009

This is a very American thing IMO. For a long time, I didn't know what "I'm on a redeye to NYC" meant. I would have just said "I'm on a late-night flight to NYC".

Another thing which I find Americans do a lot is to pronounce the abbreviation as if it's a real word.

Tom 8:33 AM on 20 Nov 2009

I think it's a tech thing. Admitting you're going to a meeting is like admitting you use a spreadsheet. It's a flag that you don't really know what you're doing ;-)

Eleanor 12:37 PM on 20 Nov 2009

Very amusing! But isn't this like the (I think ancient) custom of leaving out "class" in a school/college environment ("I'll be late for my 2 o'clock") or appointment/patient in a medical/business environment ("My 4:30 never showed up")? In each case, the context governs this interpretation. Granted, in these cases, the adjective doesn't appear...

Eleanor 12:38 PM on 20 Nov 2009

Hey, what's with the time-stamp? Here in Toronto, it's 1:37 p.m.!

andrew 7:13 PM on 20 Nov 2009

I skipped a pointless today and was congratulated on my foresight.

Ben Scherrey 1:42 AM on 27 Nov 2009

We don't say 'boring' or 'pointless' because that is inferred. The time is mentioned as it is really the only thing that differentiates it from the other meetings. :-)

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