Representing you lazily

The pedantic old dinosaur in me gets grumpy when people use the verb ‘represent’ as a pretentious synonym for ‘be’. My inner dinosaur gets even grumpier when the literal meaning of this verb contradicts the intended sense. One striking example I saw: “women represent only 32 percent of lawyers”. Are these ladies really representing the lawyers?

And for good measure, here’s another example of the same sloppy error, from the Law Society itself.

Since 1990 women have represented over 60 per cent of new entrants into the profession Women in law | The Law Society


  1. You and I both know of an organisation that uses “refute” (prove a statement to be wrong) when it should use “rebut” (claim that a statement is wrong).

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