Being Proactive on English

A dozen vocabulary guides, hundreds of books and thousands of magazines later, we are still flummoxed by the English language.

So the dictionary and thesaurus are our constant companions.

Lately, we’ve noticed that the word proactive is being wrongly used here (by at least two comment-posters). It’s being incorrectly used as a synonym for useful.

The most common – and correct – meaning of proactive is acting in anticipation of future problems, needs or changes.

Here’s an example of the correct use of proactive:

In the perilous journey of life, it’s better to be proactive than reactive.

8 Responses to "Being Proactive on English"

  1. ★TRΞY☆   October 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    err.. You wouldn’t believe me, I realized my mistake just a couple of seconds before I saw this. 🙂

  2. ★TRΞY☆   October 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I think both of us had “productive” in our minds.. or atleast me. Responds:

    Yes, both of you meant to say productive use of time.

  3. ★TRΞY☆   October 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks for pointing it out, though. I didn’t realize that you had a separate section for English.. Will go through it.

  4. guruprasad.s   October 30, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    While you have correctly described the meaning of the word ‘proactive’, I am afraid that your example is rather incorrect, on two counts.

    1. Abhishek Bachchan has survived, tormented us, will survive in Bollywood, and continue to torment us even if he is not proactive. All because of his surname.

    2. Note that the key word in your definition is ‘anticipation’.
    Bachchan Jr. will continue to survive amidst more mediocre members of Bollywood (notably, other star sons/siblings), and will not need that anticipation.

    BTW, have you watched Fashion ?
    Reviewers here in India have called it somewhat superficial, which may well be an understatement.
    I am waiting for a more brutal assessment. Responds:

    1. You write above: your example is rather incorrect, on two counts

    Our example is actually a reckless example of the Triumph of Hope over Reality. A better and simpler example would have been: We must be proactive on health issues or the one we’ve now used in the above post.

    2. Fashion??? – Not yet….almost left the door but then decided to do it on the morrow to combine Madhur Bhandarkar & Anand Amritraj

  5. joeantony   October 31, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Sorry off topic – would like to see an article from SI on the facts / truth on suicides of indian american techies. Responds:

    We haven’t seen any major reports on the subject like for instance the mass suicide of cotton farmers in India.

    There are stray reports of India Americans calling it quits (a whole family in L.A. passed away recently in a murder-suicide incident) but nothing to suggest a trend or pattern.

  6. joeantony   October 31, 2008 at 2:02 am

    SI : but nothing to suggest a trend or pattern

    Actually there is one more, heard in the news this morning… btw, my intention of asking SI for an article on this is to know what would be the real cause… (because it’s not clear for me why on earth a seasoned techie should do such thing) Responds:

    We still think those are stray incidents but with the layoffs picking up momentum here things could change.

    From what we’ve heard (from friends & family) and seen, some Indian IT guys on H1B visas are duped by ’employers’ and are then forced to work as gas station attendants (in New Jersey) or restaurant staff. Some of them lose their immigration status, which makes a bad situation worse. Sad.

    What we don’t understand is this craze of some South Indians (mostly Tamils and Telugu IT guys) to come here. We can understand the demand and interest in coming here in the 1990s….but now India has everything…but still some people are keen on coming here. Perplexing.

  7. shuaib68   October 31, 2008 at 3:05 am

    They’re being deceived by watching too many Kolly movies that depicts growth & status are being achieved living and working in the US. Like what we see in SIVAJI and many other movies as well.

    Maybe, they develop this craze and base their dreams on that.

  8. joeantony   November 3, 2008 at 5:31 am

    SI : 1990s….but now India has everything…but still some people are keen on coming here. Perplexing.

    Very true… I have seen few of them leaving a lucarative job here in india for a 45-50k starter(in paper they make it 60k being CA’s min) in San Jose…. Perplexing .. perfect word used.

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