Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Do you find this usage wrong?

Instead of channelizing our energy to fight against poverty we are promoting industrialization, which will continue to increase the rich-poor divide.

share|improve this question
9  
"Channeling" is already a perfectly good verb that you could use in this sentence. There is no need to addize a suffix to turnize it into a verb. –  Peter Shor Jun 6 '13 at 19:22
    
The "-izing" suffix would be OK in the following sentence: "Instead of incentivizing the vendors to cut corners with our current laissez faire policies, we should be providing them with incentives to do the job right the first time by providing them with step-by-step guidance." –  rhetorician Jun 6 '13 at 19:35
    
@rhetorician Disagree. Incentivize is an abomination. Just provide an incentive. This is one of those “Top 10 Most Annoying Business Jargon” terms that Forbes publishes lists about. –  tchrist Jun 7 '13 at 14:29
    
cf. burglarizing? Burgling would seem appropriate, but many locales seem intent to use burglarize where burgle would seem to be enough. So yes, I think channelizing is wrong, but there are precedents. –  Unsliced Jun 7 '13 at 15:55
    
@tchrist: I said the use of the -izing suffix would be "OK," and not necessarily what I would use. I'm not particularly fond of "incentivizing," but by the same token, I wouldn't consider it an abomination either. The use of "impact" as a verb or "impactful" as an adjective or "impactfully" as an adverb, now THAT'S bordering on an abomination. I guess we all have our "hot" buttons when it comes to "abominations"! –  rhetorician Jun 7 '13 at 17:16
add comment

4 Answers

I don't like it. We have a perfectly good word channel (here, channeling) that is more euphonious.

Special case: Because of possible ambiguity, channelize is probably better for the practice of constructing a specific channel for an otherwise wide or meandering waterway. Not relevant to this example.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Although the suffix '-ize' can used to convey "subject[ing the subject] to a (specified) action", since the word without the suffix, "channeling," already conveys that meaning, an alternate meaning for the suffix will be applied to that construction.

Most people would probably apply the first definition at that link and understand channelize to mean "to resemble a channel."

share|improve this answer
add comment

At best, we channelizing would be just about acceptable (if still sounding inelegant) if it referred to taking something and turning it into a channel (for whatever "channel" meant in the context).

E.g. "We are channelizing our other interests so that they direct sales to our core business" is god-awful English, but it at least makes some sort of sense.

In the original sentence you are not talking about turning your "energy" into a channel, but in directing it in a particular way, that is to say you are talking about "channeling" it. A bit overused perhaps, but fine enough.

If stuck on something whether something like this makes sense. Work backwards through the modifying parts (the -izes, -ings etc).

"Instead of channelizing our energy..."

means:

"Instead of acting so that our energy is channelized..."

means:

"Instead of acting so that our energy is turned into a channel..."

And since energy is not turned into a channel, but the thing that is channeled, this is nonsense.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I just don't like the antithesis whichever way of saying "channelize" you prefer; it seems like a false antithesis. As for channeling, it has other connotations that might not focus the mind on what the writer seems to mean. Unless he means to invoke the energies of generations gone by. Focus or marshal might be better. I'd like to read the context to see how the writer deems industrialization as somehow opposed to fighting poverty. It seems at least as apt to create poverty-fighting employment.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.