Submitted by cancuckft on February 9, 2011

Use of “Referenced”

Am I the only person in the world who finds the ubiquitous misuse of the verb “reference” to be incredibly annoying? Where did the use of “reference” rather than “refer to” start? I realise that the definition can skirt close to this usage, but I maintain that it is a misuse.

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It is heard when people say something like "In his speech he referenced the effect of climate change on the arctic." instead of "...he referred to the effect...".

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No, because a lot of people would agree with you.
But, no, reference is a verb, because it is giving credit to someone (or I guess something).

Referring to is rather explaining the context.
But you're right, a lot of people may be using the word improperly

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Aha, I see your point. It is a great point. Thank you.

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It is nothing more than your opinion that it is improper. I think I would probably not find myself using "reference" as a verb because as a verb it would be weak, but I think it is way too much to call it an error. The language does not need to be fenced in like that: there might be situations where the subtle difference would be useful.

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Can you cite an example please?

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The first citation in the OED is 1957.

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