Mysterious Corporate Language

You will hear a lot of official sounding terms and sentences in the corporate world. Here’s a brief snapshot of what people say and what they really mean…

  • “It has long been known” … I didn’t look up the original reference.
  • “A definite trend is evident” … These data are practically meaningless.
  • “While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to the questions” … An unsuccessful experiment but I still hope to get it published.
  • “Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study” … The other results didn’t make any sense.
  • “Typical results are shown” … This is the prettiest graph.
  • “These results will be in a subsequent report” … I might get around to this sometime, if pushed/funded.
  • “In my experience” … Once.
  • “In case after case” … Twice.
  • “In a series of cases” … Thrice.
  • “It is believed that” … I think.
  • “It is generally believed that” … A couple of others think so, too.
  • “Correct within an order of magnitude” … Wrong.
  • “According to statistical analysis” … Rumor has it.
  • “A statistically-oriented projection of the significance of these findings” … A wild guess.
  • “A careful analysis of obtainable data” … Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over my beer mug.
  • “It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding of this phenomenon occurs” … I don’t understand it.
  • “After additional study by my colleagues” … They don’t understand it either.
  • “Thanks are due to Joe Blotz for assistance with the experiment and to Cindy Adams for valuable discussions” … Mr. Blotz did the work and Ms. Adams explained to me what it meant.
  • “A highly significant area for exploratory study” … A totally useless topic selected by my committee.
  • “It is hoped that this study will stimulate further investigation in this field” … I quit.

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