In defense of the word “concerning”

I have seen it in print and heard it on major media outlets, both radio and television. A pundit will be talking about some issue or other that he or she is worried about, and they will say, “It’s very concerning to me.”

Concerning what? When did this start happening, this misuse of the word concerning?

Dictionaries define concerning as a preposition meaning “regarding (something or someone).” A preposition is a word or group of words that is used with a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to show direction, location, or time, or to introduce an object. The important phrase is “used with.” As a preposition, it has to have something to modify.

Wrong: His grades are concerning. (concerning what?)
Right: I need to meet with you concerning his grades.

Wrong: I find this situation concerning. (concerning how?)Right: I find this situation troublesome. (use an adjective instead)

I know the English language is always in a state of flux, as are all languages, and I’m not trying to suggest that America should establish an Alliance Anglais (like the French have done with their language), but this misuse of ‘concern’ is of great concern to me. It just seems lazy.

How do you feel about it?


About michaelsirois

Just a retired educator taking a stab at the Great American Novel.
This entry was posted in Language and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Go ahead, say something know you want to