How do I use the word owed



Among the buzzwords, I particularly hate "to be owed". It has spread epidemically into fiction since 2000 or a little later. For example, in the short novel "Menu d'amour" by NICOLAS BARREAU (pseudonym of the publisher's owner Daniela Thiele):

"That afternoon's intimacy, which was primarily due to a dead cocker spaniel, should only be repeated once."

The following questions arise:

–       How would you have formulated it before 2000?

–       Does "being owed" express a fact more precisely or elegantly than was previously possible? So is there a real need for this word?

–       Why did this term spread so quickly?

Before the buzzword appeared, the relative clause would have been something like: which was caused by a dead cocker spaniel or which was caused by a dead cocker spaniel. Already here the suspicion arises that "to be owed" easily replaces a number of other expressions from which one would have to choose depending on the context. The rapid spread is therefore due to the convenient subsummary usage, i.e. through ... conditionally. The verb sein and the simple dative bypass more complicated constructions, e.g. prepositional expressions.

The broadest meaning attached to the expression "to be owed" is the reason or the cause of being, e.g. Joria's ignorance is due to her domesticity (from the Internet): The reason for Joria's ignorance is her domesticity.

The verb "owe" means "to be obliged" and relates to material and ideal things: I owe you money, we owe you thanks. Passive use is likely to be very rare: everyone owes him thanks.

If one takes the meaning of "to be obliged" as a basis for "being owed", the sentence Joria's ignorance is due to her domesticity turns out to be absurd: Because of her domesticity, Joria feels obliged to remain ignorant. It is therefore strongly recommended to outlaw the buzzword "owed".

The fashionable expression of being owed weakens the expressiveness of the verb "owe" and the ability to use proven means of expression in a differentiated manner through interference. It contributes to the impoverishment of language.

Anyone who uses a buzzword is giving a certain degree of independence and moral responsibility to a collective, feeling confirmed by it or reassured in conscience. He means that he has made progress in thinking and in view of life compared to the past.


Starting in March 2015, I would like to cite examples of "being owed" that I find in current newspapers and magazines and rewrite them as they would have been formulated before the fashionable expression appeared. I usually limit myself to a single playback option.

The most general expressions are "due to", "attributable to", "caused by", "due to":

Only a third of the decline (in Protestant members) was due to reunification. The daily mail 3.3.15 p.5

is due to

The mistake is apparently due to a mistake at the prosecutor's office. Upper Bavarian Volksblatt (OVB) 9.3.15, p.1 Mistyped

is due to; The reason for the error is ...

The deception and control of the members in the lower grades were due to Weishaupt's aim to perfect the individual through education or stimulation for self-education and through hidden leadership. Wikipedia, Order of Illuminati

had their cause in, were conditioned by, were caused

Synonyms under assume, are based on, be based (in something / someone), are based on, the causes (for this) are in (...) to see, originate, explain (from / through), (the) reasons (for) are to be looked for in (...), reason for this is to derive (oneself) from, originate from, come from, are due, result from, cause is, have (its) cause in, have (its) origin in, owe (to something), be caused (by something / someone), go back (to something), be traced back to (something), to be attributable to (a thing)

The bad word "owed" has it even in the encyclical "Fratelli tutti" (October 3rd, 2020) brought:

That is why "the damnable terrorism, which threatens the security of people in the East as well as in the West, in the North and in the South and spreads panic, fear and horror as well as pessimism, [...] is not religion owed."

It is a seemingly literal translation from Italian: "non è dovuto alla religione ". For dovuto, however, the Langenscheidt large dictionary states, among other things: dependent on, based on, conditioned by. The same applies to English due: ascribing (d), causes, leading back (d) and French être dû: originating from something, conditioned be through.


A buzzword wants to attract attention and gives itself the appearance of new expressiveness that supposedly demands the spirit and self-confidence of the present. Anyone who wants to have a say, who wants to be socially acceptable, uses the latest prestigious buzzword.

Every buzzword has its own particular characteristics. The buzzword resilient with its noun resilience is parasitic Nature, since it usurps a known word and gives a new one regardless of its protected meaning. It is a symptom of how frivolously, thoughtlessly and manipulatively the precious good of language is dealt with.

The adjective resilient means, according to the definition, "suitable, able to withstand stress". Resilience can refer to things and people, e.g. a vehicle that can be loaded up to a certain weight, different physical and mental resilience of employees.

The following quote from the Bayreuth criminal police can be read in the Oberbayerisches Volksblatt on July 28, 2015:

"We assume that there won't be any in the next few days resilientResults to be expected there. "

"Resilient results" are accurate, precise, dependable, reliable, valid, convincing results.

Using a buzzword has three effects:

–       The user gradually succumbs to the impression that there is no equally accurate expression.

–       A word that was previously used in place of the buzzword is perceived as out of date.

–       The user loses the synonymous words in his active vocabulary.

The assignment of a known word with a fashionable meaning brings the conventional meaning into distress, it creates a discordant interference. An already established example is the word sustainable, whose conventional meaning belongs to the synonym group persistent, permanent, ongoing. The common expression is "leaving a lasting impression". The word was chosen in the 1990s to denote renewable energy sources and renewable raw materials. Today a speaker can no longer use the original meaning so freely.

A contribution to the buzzword resilient appeared in the Hamburger Abendblatt.


A fashion expression can be a sign of awkwardness and bad stylistic taste, especially if it spreads epidemically to all sorts of situations. The following sentence can be read in the Oberbayerisches Volksblatt of 1.8.2015:

"So Cameron has no choice but to to give the makerwho has the situation under control or at least gets it under control. "

The common verb is to play, e.g. the innocent play. The word is already in the present sentence Doer a tendentious swear expression. The phrase is stylistically impeccable "to give oneself as something". In factual terminology one would say something like "a man of determination / determination / energy to give / show". The author obviously wants to make an impression on the reader by using a sloppy, hacking expression.

IV. Further buzzwords and non-words

The rhetoric teacher Quintilian passed on Caesar's stylistic principle "Tamquam scopulum, sic fuge inauditum et insolens verbum" - like a cliff, avoid an unknown and unusual word. Buzzwords catch your eye - and quickly come to mind. Whoever uses them shifts responsibility to those who used them before. One can confidently assume that the meaningful content and scope of a buzzword was perceived and formulated before it appeared. If you don't just want to join a fashion trend, you will find out how you expressed the same meaning in the past. If you are sure that there is no need for a new word, you should avoid it or at most use it as a synonym in a stylistically targeted manner.

Buzzwords bring with them the danger that the expressions previously used with the same meaning will disappear from memory and from usage.

The following buzzwords and non-words are sketchy.


Often found in daily newspapers: "With a television appearance at Sandra Maischberger, the former parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, Friedrich Merz, has renewed the debate about the candidate for chancellor in the Union fired." OVB June 21st, 2019 instead of: ENTFACHT


"The truth cannot be converted" is the misleading subtitle of the film, which is entirely the Narrative follows the homosexual movement. Daily mail 7.3.2019 instead of: SICHTweise

In the meantime you change unabashedly to the German translation narrative was she a "psychopathic, filthy, drugged whore". "It was a wrong story," says Knox. "I'm not a monster, I'm just Amanda."OVB June 17, 2019: according to PRESENTATION of the media. The term narrative is without need robbed of its basic meaning. It is an arbitrary and irresponsible manipulation of language and disregard and disrespect for traditional meanings. Narrative is mostly a superfluous synonym for Point of view.

Created: February 2015 and ongoing