Writing thought of the day…on “verbing” words

The Verbing of America

The verbing of America
Is getting out of hand,
Yet many nouns are also verbs,
Like toast and rake and land.
When I first heard hospitalize,
I thought it was a crime;
Why don’t we apartmentalize?
We will — just give us time!
If when we change a noun to verb
To come up with our `verbing,’
Why can’t I, when I’m using herbs,
Refer to it as herbing?
For if I call myself a cook
, The verbal form is cooking;
And if I give someone a look,
It’s also known as looking.
I give a gift
But I’m not gifting.
You get my drift,
Or am I drifting?
I get a bill
Because of billing,
But taking pills
Is never pilling.
I place a pin,
And I am pinning.
Play a violin —
Is it violining?
But play a fiddle,
And you’re fiddling;
Or is this getting
Much too piddling?
Planting some seeds
Is always seeding,
And pulling weeds
Is surely weeding;
If drawing blood
Is always bleeding,
Why does a flood
Not lead to fleeding?
I’m wined and dined
But never beered.
I’ve eyed someone,
But never eared!
Turn on a light,
And I am lighting.
Turn on a lamp,
And it’s not lamping.
If I can verbalize
A needle,
And egging on
Can mean to wheedle,
And I am doodling
With a doodle,
When I cook pasta,
Can’t I noodle?
With all these punctuation marks,
I’m doing quite a lot of dotting;
But if I were to use a dash —
Don’t you agree that I am dashing?
But comma-ing and period-ing?
And yet I can italicize
And sometimes must capitalize.
I Anglicize — but Germanicize?
Or Swedicize, or Gaelicize?
With this I could go on and on,
Really ad infinitum;
Whether I lick these word problems,
I sure cannot beat ’em.
Our language is an enigma
In how its words are used;
And that is why, in verbing nouns,
We ought to be excused.

via Harold Schiffman

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on July 10, 2011, in Writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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