They seek him here, they seek him there

To seek is another of the words that are very similar to a much more everyday Dutch equivalent – zoeken – and that therefore get heavily overused in Dunglish.

It’s a perfectly good word, but it’s too dated for most texts, as the title of the post shows. Solutions for zoeken in more modern and natural English are:

  • search: a serious single-minded effort to locate something, on the Internet, in the shops, chasing an escaped criminal, etc.
  • look for: simple casual verb for trying to find something

To put it another way, it’s a word that can very easily put your text in the wrong register: stuffy and formal or old-fashioned instead of accessible.

Prevalence: moderate. This minor slip-up can occur in all types of texts and usages.
Frequency: moderate. Not usually repeated often in any given document.
Native: no. We know the word and we do use it, sure – just not very often.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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