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MS Word has been complaining of a grammatical Word Confusion error when I use converge.

Here's my sentence:

Managers had converged the thousands of ideas into a handful of big ideas.

If I drop the from the sentence Word does not find any error. Also, if I exchange converged for combined Word is happy. However, I guess what I would like to say with converge is a mix of merged and combined.

Is that my confusion or is there a better word?

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  • 5
    Pro tip: Using MS Word's grammar checker is a rookie move.
    – Robusto
    Oct 23, 2012 at 14:01
  • What you would like to say with "converge" and the normal definitions of "converge" do not really match. Maybe you should just use "combined". Oct 23, 2012 at 14:03
  • @Mr.ShinyandNew安宇 Combining ideas takes less effort than to converge them -- they're managers, you see.
    – Kris
    Oct 23, 2012 at 14:31
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    The transitive use of converge sounds a little weird to me. Maybe MSWord has some rule about that (even though dictionaries say it can be used that way (thanks @Kris)).
    – Mitch
    Oct 23, 2012 at 14:38

4 Answers 4

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I think that MS Word is correct and that you should change the word to merged or, as you've suggested, combined. Converged is word unto itself and isn't a combination of combined and merged. This is what the Online Etymological Dictionary says:

converge (v.) 1690s, from L.L. convergere "to incline together" from com- "together" (see com-) + vergere "to bend" (see verge (v.)). Related: Converged; converging.

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  • I do realize its not a combination of those words, strictly speaking. But your dictionary definition seems to fit what I'm trying to say better than either merged or combined.
    – Stoney
    Oct 23, 2012 at 14:57
  • I think that the transitive use of converged is a misusage. Things converge, people don't converge things. Couldn't find transitive use in BNC or COCA. It's not natural American English.
    – user21497
    Oct 23, 2012 at 15:49
  • @Stoney, the problem is that "converge" is not a transitive verb. You may say that "ideas converge (by themselves)", but you cannot say "I converged these ideas". Oct 23, 2012 at 15:56
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My understanding is that things can converge but you cannot converge them. Maybe a better fitting word would be "coalesced." The sentence is a little clumsily put together anyhow, even if it was valid for managers to converge things. Was there any outstanding idea that emerged or something else a little more exciting than unknown ideas converging?

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  • I doubt "coalesced" would be understood by my intended audience and perhaps the same is true for "converged". Basically, thousands of independently developed overlapping ideas were gathered. Then the managers took the ideas, used software to sort them into clusters of related ideas. They then looked at the clusters manually, assessed what was interesting and created 30 broad ideas for further discussion and development. - So loads of converging going on...
    – Stoney
    Oct 23, 2012 at 15:17
  • Maybe synthesized?
    – user21497
    Oct 23, 2012 at 15:51
  • brainstorming or innovation assisted by high tech conputing or something along those lines?
    – Chris
    Oct 23, 2012 at 20:35
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Perhaps you could use the word:

distilled (distill) : 4. To separate or extract the essential elements of

which connotes more effort and process than does a simple combination.

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The real complaint of Word was that you placed a noun immediately after the verb.

You may try

"Managers had converged all of the thousands of ideas into a handful of big ideas."

which resolves the issue.

Any other structural change (between verb and noun) should also do the trick.

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  • I know the "grammarian" will never show up to comment about his down vote. Lol.
    – Kris
    Oct 25, 2012 at 4:19

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