Learnings II

Never pick a fight with a poet-lawyer.  But if you do, finish it.

I am revealing my inner Grammar Nanny here, but my objection to the increased noun-use of "learning" in the business vernacular is that there is always a better word available.  99% of the time, the word "lesson" would cause much less offense to the ear.  And even in situations when rewriting a sentence to avoid using "learning" as a noun violates Rule 13, it's totally worth it.  Two examples:

  • Which is more elegant? "My economics learning of the day was..." or "My economics lesson today was..." 
  • Which is less awkward? "Despite this week's learnings about the dangers of urban living, I took a back-alley shortcut home from work tonight." or "Despite learning this week about..." or, OR! "Even though I learned this week..." OK, I'll stop. 

I was also surprised (and embarrassed) to learn(!) that there are defensible uses of "learning" as a noun/gerund. I recognize them as such, of course, but they hadn't occurred to me before. From m-w.com:

  • a computer program that makes learning fun 
  • different methods of foreign language learning 
  • The first year of college was a learning experience. 
  • They were people of good education and considerable learning. 

I just don't see how any of those four examples can justify the way we've come to abuse the word in the workplace today.

And let's not get started on "ask." The next time I hear someone say "what's the ask here?" I'm going to punch him in the throat.