Corroboratively vs. Collaboratively

By Maeve Maddox

A reader has brought my attention to an odd use of the word corroboratively in a job description for a communications specialist position:

Work corroboratively as a member of an integrated contractor team…

Like the reader, I believe that the recruiter was reaching for the adverb collaboratively, which is the word used to describe the action of working with others in a cooperative manner.

In my search for additional examples of this misuse, I did not find many, but corroboratively, often spelled “corrobatively,” does appear in other job descriptions published by recruiters, including several from the UK and one from Australia:

You will work corroboratively with the Directors and other Managers…

Work corrobatively [sic] to support recovery process

A marketing site provided another:

I think probably this has [a lot] to do with the niche and how much [revenue] is in it for them, and is used corrobatively [sic].

The verb corroborate means “to strengthen or confirm.” It cropped up frequently in the old Perry Mason television series:

Can you corroborate his alibi?

If it please the Court, we have corroborating evidence.

The adverb form corroboratively is rarely used, although I did find it in two or three difficult-to-follow interpretations of the Book of Revelation in which the prophecies are seen as an indictment of the petroleum industry:

all prophecy is corrobatively [sic] linked into the energy business…

I’m not certain, but I think this example may have something to do with the idea that the Bible provides supporting evidence for the writer’s views.

So far the rogue use of corroboratively in the sense of cooperatively or collaboratively is rare, but errors travel quickly in cyberspace.

Beware.

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!


Share


2 Responses to “Corroboratively vs. Collaboratively”

  • venqax

    …errors travel quickly in cyberspace.
    That is so true you want to coin a new word to describe it.
    I notice that people very often pronounce the word corroborate as co- woborate– basically Elmer Fudding the Rs (elmerfudding? I’m making up the word so who knows?). And I don’t mean that this is done by people with a speech difficulty, I mean I hear it a lot from those with no such issues. My guess is that it is a type of confusion with cooperate, maybe with a vague notion that corroborate is a different word, but no exactly sure how…Corroboratively works as word for rare occasion, at least as much as it has a genuine pre-established meaning, but not as a synonym for collaboratively. That is simply a mismot.

  • John F

    Maybe it is an example of someone wanting to use a big word without making sure someone knows what the word actually means.

Leave a comment: