Can You Really ‘Grow’ the Economy?

Problems of grammar and usage, like the meaning of words, change and change in strange and unpredictable ways. Some, such as the notion that one should not end a sentence with a preposition, persisted for hundreds of years, despite the fact that they were rather useless and meaningless. Others, such as the mid-20th century idea that bald not an appropriate word, having a short life and then being forgotten. Sometimes a word will escape a usage distinction and be accepted as standardized English, only to find that another has taken the place of the first word. Meet develop.

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We cannot recommend this photo as a viable financial strategy.

In the late 19th century, the emerging problem for all good grammarians was the use of develop to refer to something that is not larger in some way in size. Note to readers: words hot, coolAnd grammarian, as used in the previous sentence, is all highly subjective and should not be taken seriously. In any case, Richard Grant White, a notorious man of the day, didn’t like it when develop has been used to indicate that something is getting smaller. However, we used the word develop means “to become” since the 15th century, and we have used it to refer to a reduction, rather than an expansion, at least since the beginning of the 16th century.

And we found, that slowness was taken, and children’s characters waxed gently, and grew smaller in stature.— Thomas Elyot, Boke is named Gouernour1537

Prohibition of use grow smaller (or similar usage) has existed for a number of decades, but as the 20th century passed, more and more grammarians adopted it. But instead of simply disappearing and entering the haze of ‘words we used to complain about but now can’t remember why’, develop instead, it spins neatly and finds a new way to annoy people.

Today, a hot new interest among grammarians is the idea that develop should not be used as a transitive verb (note: please observe the same semantic warnings as before). One small problem with this is Oxford English Dictionary inform us that develop has been acting as a transitive verb for over 500 years now. Happily, as always, Twitter has the answer.

So according to the followers of this new peeve, modern English will allow develop used as a transitive verb, but only for plants or hair. With the exception of some technical fields, such as crystallography, which have been using transitions develop from the beginning of the 20th century.

Where such follow-up work is not possible, due to the inability to obtain or grow crystals of the right size, this microscopic study is invaluable.— AEH Tutton, Crystallography and actual crystallography1911

The current repetition of this statement seems to be largely derived from Bill Clinton’s use of the phrase “growing the economy” when he campaigned for president in 1991. However, Clinton simply merely popularize a term that is already part of economic terminology. at that time. In 1988, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, W. Lee Hoskins, was quoted in Cleveland Delta Dealer use economic transition develop:

“If we don’t grow the economy fast enough to pay foreign creditors for goods and services, then living standards will suffer,” he said.—Cleveland Delta DealerJanuary 12, 1988

It’s perfectly reasonable to dislike the sound of certain word combinations (such as ‘growing the economy’ or ‘growing businesses’). And it would be interesting if we could assign this degree of specificity to other transitive verbs (‘extend can be used as a transitive verb, but only when referring to the waistline. And shirt.) green rain’). verbs based on dislike some of its usage is not the most practical approach. You don’t have to like, or even obey, bridging develop. But you should admit that it exists, and at this point you can stop blaming Bill Clinton for it.

See more:  On ‘Recoup’ and ‘Recuperate’

Categories: Usage Notes

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