Talk:utilize

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Removal of examples[edit]

Why did you remove the examples from the references I gave? The use of utilise, probably from the French is regularly misused by those that want to sound important. —This unsigned comment was added by GFellows (talkcontribs) 00:50, 22 May 2007.

I've removed the following from the article:
Utilize is not an elegant variation of the word use; it has its own distinct meaning. When you utilize something, you make do with something not normally used for the purpose, e.g., you utilize a dime when the bloody screwdriver is nowhere to be found. If the screwdriver were there, you'd use it, not utilize a stupid dime for the purpose.
as firstly, it doesn't have the tone of a dictionary entry, and secondly, I don't think it's quite true. The dictionaries at Dictionary.com[1] and the OED[2] don't seem to support it, exactly; rather, they all seem to agree that insofar as utilize is distinct from use, it has to do with finding a use for something otherwise useless. For example, one might "utilize" a dime as a screwdriver if one is in a country where dimes are not legal tender, or perhaps if one is so wealthy that a dime's monetary value is completely and utterly beneath one's notice.
But any such distinction is irrelevant anyway, since we can hardly claim that the use of utilize to mean use is nonstandard; it's crappy style, certainly, but it's by now the most common use of the term.
RuakhTALK 06:36, 22 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I wasn't worried about the "dime" quotation which was added by someone else but the quotes from the references still found in the article. These are high-quality sources generally used by better writers. A dictionary should provide examples from high-quality writing to provide examples for inexperienced writers. Geoff 2007-06-08T13:44+10:00
I've looked at the entry in OED and 'Utilize is fast antiquating improve, in the sense of “turn to account”’ from 1873 is not modern usage. Use of utilise continues to be attempts at engrandising poor writing. Geoff 2007-12-31T10:21+11:00

I found the following reference that I think makes a compelling case (at least in my mind) for distinguishing between the words "use" and "utilize": http://www.bartleby.com/64/C003/0294.html

Quotation:

The American Heritage® Book of English Usage. A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English. 1996.

3. Word Choice: New Uses, Common Confusion, and Constraints

§ 294. utilize


Some people complain that utilize is nothing but a pretentious substitute for use. It is true that you can often replace utilize with use with no loss to anything but pomposity. There seems little advantage of using utilize instead of use in sentences such as Barbara utilized questionable methods in her analysis or We hope that many commuters will continue to utilize mass transit after the bridge has reopened. 1

But utilize can also mean “to find a profitable or practical use for.” Thus the sentence The teachers were unable to use the new computers might mean only that the teachers were unable to turn the computers on, whereas The teachers were unable to utilize the new computers suggests that the teachers could not find ways to employ the computers in instruction. 2

The American Heritage® Book of English Usage. Copyright © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

End quotation.

Nick Duchon.--Nduchon 20:24, 24 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

If you find their statement compelling, then you are, of course, quite welcome to draw this distinction in your own speech; however, this discussion-page is not for discussing the word , but rather for discussing our entry for it. Are you advocating some sort of change to said entry? If so, could you please be more explicit about what you want to see changed? —RuakhTALK 22:54, 24 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

If you think this statement "to find a profitable or practical use for" is a short-cut for utilize all right, but I see in print utilize used as a misused alternative to use. I read one book on programming that used utilize about twenty times on one page. -- Geoff 2008-08-30T17:56:08+1000

Utilise is misused like free gift, toxic poison and audible click

New Category?[edit]

Should there be a Category created for words like this, "euthanatize", and "euthanasiate", which are derived from the same roots as shorter synonyms? Are there enough examples to justify such a list? --Tormod 14:28, 5 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]