I have in hand an appeal on Twitter from @TheBaltimoreChop: "if you could do a column on 'has been named' vs. 'has been hired as' I'd RT that every day for a week. Pretty please?"

The Chop does not explain his reasoning in this tweet, though I infer that he disdains the elevation of mere hiring for a job to the level of appointment to a post. Three years ago, I was hired to be the grandiloquently titled Night Content Production Manager at The Baltimore Sun. Saying that I was named Night Content Production Manager would seem a little grand for what is in effect a humble drudge left holding the bag on nights, weekends, and holidays after the important people have left the building.

If I have misinterpreted his distinction, no doubt The Chop will soon inform me.

Naming bothers The Chop, while I see it as merely a mild irritant. Tapping is what irks me. You can expect to see that someone has been tapped to be an ambassador, as if being chosen to represent the United States of American at the Court of St. James's is the equivalent of being recruited for a college fraternity. Journalists alone seem addicted to the construction, perhaps because they were not themselves tapped, or not tapped by one of the prestige frats.*

Picked sometimes crops up, but that looks rather informal. You pick one brand of deodorant from displays on the shelves at the grocery or pharmacy.

Chosen seems to be a perfectly suitable and neutral word for all such occasions.

 

 

*The Society of Professional Journalists was founded as Sigma Delta Chi, and in 1988 the society dropped Sigma Delta Chi from its formal name, perhaps to indicate that it was now a grown-up professional organization.

For the record, I did not pledge a fraternity as an undergraduate at Miochigan State and never felt the slightest impulse to do so. Being an English major already placed me in a select-enough group.