This is how I feel when someone wants me to write “utilize.”

Has this ever happened to you?

More than once I’ve written copy for a client who was happy with what I produced, but insisted on changing the word use to utilize throughout the document.


Why do people think utilize sounds more effective than the plain three-letter word use? I don’t get it.

Those who work with me know that utilize is a word I refuse to use. When someone sticks in a utilize after I’ve finished writing, the piece is just plain useless to me (pardon the pun) as a sample of my work.

Does that make me a neurotic writer or just a principled one? Some people claim that utilize has a specific purpose, but I’ve never bought this argument.

If you produce written material, how do you feel about utilize?


  1. As you know, I am totally with you on this one, Donna! It makes me weep when someone turns a perfectly natural quote or piece of writing into a stiff, cold version with “utilize.”

  2. I’m with you. I loathe the word in any type of content (web copy, essays, fiction…). I try not too cringe when it is spoken in a meeting.


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