Don’t mention it

When someone mentions something, it’s a minor sideline, a small point. “Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that…” The verb to mention isn’t really a general verb for a statement in a report or document.

Dutch science and business writing in particular are fond of this word, usually as a translation of aangeven or similar. And it doesn’t quite work.

  • Thirty-seven per cent of respondents mentioned that…
  • The financial statement mentioned the profits had fallen by…
  • The nursing staff mentioned to the patients about…

Most of the time, you’re better off with simple everyday verbs instead: say, state, tell, point out and many more.

Prevalence: very high. Along with indicate, used in similar situations and often not quite in the right register.
Frequency: high. In papers and reports, like the examples above, variants on the same phrase tend to get repeated a lot.
Native: no. Except where the overtone of it being a bit peripheral is intended.

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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