A story on Morning Edition had a small detail that made me cringe. It was about Google’s attempt to raise money to fight Ebola. More power to them.
What got me was when the Google spokesperson said that the company hoped to make a “differential impact.” Not a “difference” or an “impact,” but a “differential impact.”
I’m sure there is a name for this. There are times when someone has to use a fancy word or term to be more precise or to convey some connotation, but “differential impact” just comes off as a pretension. Yes, I’m a bit of a jackass about such things, but it left me saying “get over yourself” rather than thinking about how good it is that her organization is trying to make a difference, I mean “differential impact.”
There are two others that get me.
One is saying “price point” when one really means “price.” In economics, price point means something specific. Basically, it is how much you can charge without affecting demand. Nowadays, it seems to be used when someone just wants to say how much a product costs. These are not the same, and “price point” just means you are trying to sound smarter.
Another, and this has bugged me for a while, is the use of “epicenter” when a speaker really means “center.” This is a term used for earthquakes, and its misuse likely comes from a misunderstanding of geology. A spot is referred to as an epicenter because it is actually not where the earthquake occurred, but on the surface above the spot where it happened. Yes, it’s a center, but not really. In any case adding “epi” to the word “center” has more to do with trying to use a lofty term of art than actually conveying any meaning.
Now that I’ve insulted all of you, my work is done.
Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.