"report" 'someone reporting to a manager'

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Thu May 28 22:16:08 UTC 2009

On Thu, 28 May 2009 14:45:22 -0700, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> On May 28, 2009, at 1:42 PM, Dave Wilton wrote:
>> From my personal experience in Silicon Valley, this sense of
>> "report" is so
>> frequent that I never even considered that someone might find it
>> unusual.
>> It's not all that recent, being around for at least a decade or so,
>> possibly
>> much older. I can't recall if it was in use back when I worked for the
>> government.
>> Searching for "direct report" might help in separating out the chaff.

Working in London (UK) for an American software & services company, I
second Dave's experience. The noun and the verb ("Who does he report to?"
"How many reports does she have?") are extremely common. It's mostly used
when trying to find out the organizational structure of some part of the
company one works for. For the anecdote, the force of attraction of this
way of talking is so great that with my manager, with whom I mostly speak
French, we use "rapporter a qqn" as the equivalent of "report to someone"
-- there is no one-to-one equivalent in French, so we're using a rather
unidiomatic Anglicism (he started it...). (Of course there would be myriad
ways of expressing the relationship in idiomatic French -- I'm not saying
French has no way for the converse of the verb "manage".)

> ??  usually when we criticize claims that some usage is "recent", we
> cite numbers of occurrences from 50-400 years.  something on the order
> of 10 years ago *is* recent.

I only took a peek, but here's a 1975 cite from Google Books:

The Engineering Manager should establish specific measurements to assess
performance of his direct reports and their organizations. (From some IEEE

Chris Waigl

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list