22 February 2017

Credit only where credit is due

In his chapter on word choice, Harold Evans rightly takes issue with the misuse of the term “credit” in news media. In 2014, Boko Haram was “credited” with the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria. A year later, on the night of the terror attacks in Paris, a TV commentator reported that no one had yet “claimed credit.” This is to ventriloquize the terrorists: to claim credit for an act is to imply its righteousness. Evans proposes a clearer-sighted alternative: “Nobody has yet admitted . . . responsibility.”
From an essay about the proper use of the English language in this month's Harper's.  I quite agree with the sentiment expressed.


  1. Nonsense! Credit means "a loan, thing entrusted to another" and shouldn't be allowed to mean anything else than that!

    (See my point? If not, I'd suggest re-reading Deutscher.)

  2. I agree as well. As a teacher of two languages, I am very aware of the importance of using words correctly.


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