[OPE-L:2558] 'Critique'

From: Michael Williams (mike.williams@dmu.ac.uk)
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 15:34:55 EST

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At the risk of being deemed reactionary by John (Hi John) for adverting to a
dictionary definition, in response to to Jerry's comments about 'Critique',
it would appear that it is 'Criticism' that has changed its connotation
(towards a more 'negative' tone) and so occasioned the increasing use over
the last 150 years of 'Critique' to denote a critical appraisal.

For example, see this from the American Heritage Dictionary:

USAGE NOTE: Critique has been used as a verb meaning “to review or discuss
critically” since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much
wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between
praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense. (One is not
likely to say, for example, She criticized the bill approvingly.) But this
use of critique is still regarded by many as pretentious jargon; 69 percent
of the Usage Panel rejects the sentence As mock inquisitors grill him, top
aides take notes and critique the answers with the President afterward.
There is no exact synonym, but in most contexts one can usually substitute
go over, review, or analyze.

Dr Michael Williams
Economics and Social Sciences
De Montfort University
Milton Keynes
tel: +1908 834876
[Home: +1703 768641]
fax: 0870 133 1147
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