Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Editing for Grammarphobes: Verbing



Sometimes I think advertising is the bane of the English language. You might recall my rant awhile back about Chuck E. Cheese’s “Everybody say cheese is funner” lyric in its jingle. Well, here’s another linguistic abomination.

A local carpet company is now urging potential customers to “floor the house.”

Floor the house? What is that supposed to mean? One cannot wow an inanimate object. But that isn’t even what the spokesperson is talking about. The company is using it to describe the act of installing wood flooring.

What about “Beer me?”

Or “texting?” I must confess to being guilty of saying I “texted” someone when the phrase really should be “sent a text” or “received a text message.”

There have always been nouns that also can be used as verbs. Scribd.com has a great list of them here, which includes face, balance, plane, stop, transport, laugh, name, and cycle.

However, these latest examples, especially “floor the house” and “beer me,” just feel lazy, as if asking politely for a beer is too many words to utter and inventing yet another meaning for “floor” is so very clever. I know language evolves, but in these cases, it feels more like a devolution.

What do you think?







7 comments:

Kelly Hashway said...

Texted bothers me, but I use it because everyone else does. I caved, I guess. LOL

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

I'm glad I am not the only one, Kelly. :)

Leah Griffith said...

Good Morning Karen! You have hit on a pet peeve of mine. The English language is being hacked up like a corpse with bits and pieces of it being scattered here and there.
Conversate is one example of the hack job. Hello! Conversate? Really. Conversation!!!
With texts, twitter, and fb, the language has been abbreviated to save time and space, which would be fine if it wasn’t overflowing onto our streets. I was in Toys-R-Us the other day and heard a young mother say to her child, “OMG, put that down.” OMG?
Oh my God…I think I’m going to throw up. *grin

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Totally, Leah!!! :)

R. Doug Wicker said...

I'm still ticked at:

"Winston tastes good, LIKE as cigarette should."

"You've GOT mail."

And that pathetic bit of lyrics, "Where it's AT."

angel011 said...

After "tlk lyk dis", verbing doesn't seem so bad.

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

R. Doug: Yes! I guess it goes back further than I thought.

angel011: LOL.