to lever on something

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Kotuku33

Senior Member
French & English, Alberta, Canada
Dear forum members,

I am copyediting a thesis and have come across the following phrase: "Levering on those existing theories [i.e. the ones described in the previous paragraph] in combination with historical contextualisation, my research thus focuses on the following specific questions: ..."

Leaving aside the rest of the sentence, which I can fix without help, I wonder what you all think of this use of the verb "to lever". It sounds wrong to me. I would appreciate others' viewpoints. Thank you!
 
  • Kotuku33

    Senior Member
    French & English, Alberta, Canada
    From past reading it seems that "to leverage" is modern pompous business jargon and the real proper verb is "to lever", though lay people don't seem to use it. But I wasn't sure if it could be used the way this writer has used it, and I was also unsure about the "on". In addition this is academic writing and I want to keep the tone academic.

    At the moment I'm looking at proposing the following: "Combining those existing theories with historical contextualisation, my research..." But I'd rather not stray that far from the author's idea if I can find another way of making it clearer. I think she must mean "Using those theories as a jumping-off point, and adding in historical contextualisation, my research..."
     
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