As a “word person”, I like to think I have a fairly extensive vocabulary, as does Jon.
Once, Jon concluded a mail with, “With all best wishes for the forthcoming holidays”.
I thought this was a case of him using the term “forthcoming” incorrectly, thinking the word he meant was “upcoming”. If I was right, this would be a rare case, the first in my experience, of Jon using a word incorrectly. I relished the idea of catching him!
Rather than challenge him immediately, I looked up the definition and, to my slight dismay (okay, more than slight. I was bummed.), Jon’s use of the term in this case was correct. (I’m glad I checked first or I never would have heard the end of it from him!)
However, if this had been a proposal, I think using “upcoming” would have been better and I think there’s an important, though somewhat subtle point to be made here. Please allow me to explain.
I thought the word forthcoming was defined as “candid”, “open” or “cooperative”, and when I looked up the definition, I found that is how the word is defined. However, it is also defined as “approaching in time” or “about to come forth”, as Jon (yes, he was correct, sigh) used it. When I looked up the word “upcoming”, the only definition given was “coming up” or “about to take place”.
So for proposal purposes, using the term “forthcoming”, with multiple definitions, has the potential to cause a reader to question the use of the term (it DID to THIS reader and like I said, I like to think my vocabulary is fairly extensive). “Upcoming”, with only one definition and I suspect more familiar to a greater percent of the population, doesn’t pose this risk.
But I guess I’ll have to continue to wait awhile to catch Jon using a word incorrectly. :)