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Nouns as Verbs and Other Language Pet Peeves

Why you shouldn't switch the two.
Jun | 26 | 2013

Jun | 26 | 2013


To me, language is about choices. I choose not to use buzzwords. I choose to write and speak in relatively straightforward manners.

I just don’t read the work writers who routinely use five- and six-line sentences. Short sentences are godsends, especially after longer ones. They give people time to digest your profundity.

You’ll never see or hear me use partner or transition as verbs. Same with the inverse.

And I absolutely loathe made-up nouns like the value-add, takeaway, deliverable, and learning. I’m not for censorship, but these are nothing short of atrocities.

Each one feels like stepping on a rake.

Simon Says

Yes, language evolves. To tweet is entirely legitimate. Sounding smarter isn’t rocket science. Start with writing and speaking simply.


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  1. Steven Puroll

    Respected Georges Orwell and Carlin were both in your corner on this subject, and I have to say I agree, generally. But misused words and unusual syntax do have their uses, especially when the strangeness is common within-group. (Think Ebonics, or the new language of the young and tech-savvy. People speaking their own variation of language may form a more cohesive subculture. Haven’t seen research on this, but it’s a theory.)

  2. Loop Withers

    I agree but with reservations. Historically, the United States has been the cradle for new English usage. As an Englishman speaking English, I usually have to wait for Americans to facilitate an up-scale in my online speakability. The best new US words and usage become embedded in the UK.

    Although at times it can feel like I am being extraordinarily rendered by a time-poor human resources guru, my branding and life-choices connectivity portfolio becomes more high-end than before.

    Phil, you earn your living explaining new technology and communications concepts to the under-informed. You would find that task very difficult if you restricted yourself to 18th century English but I’d gladly pay to watch you try!

    Can we just agree that anyone who starts ANY sentence with the word: “So…” gets hospitalised for the greater good of humanity?

    • Phil Simon

      I’m not a big fan of answering questions with “So.” I have way too many pet peeves, I suppose.

  3. Loop Withers

    Yep. Add that to the list of ‘things I shall outlaw once I become Supreme Leader’.

    I just noticed that my pens are not lined up in order of manufacturing date so I must break off, now…


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