You’ve been nounin’ when youghtta been verbin’

It all started with ‘prioritise’ and ‘hospitalise.’ We were shocked by this wanton  use of English last century, however as time passes we’re ready to monetise, deleverage and neologise in a way which has defeated my spellchecker.

The sports commentators were in there early; I guess that sports journalism sexes up a boring old match by writing ‘ Ikram topscored in the second innings, and (pass the sick bag,please) ‘ Gerry carded 6 on the 9th hole.’ Then footballers were red and yellow carded. But now it’s all gone mad, mostly in the sporting world – remember in Olympics year how the reporters had to be restrained from saying ‘he/she ‘medalled’ in the final. ‘Pedalled’ being fine – in the velodrome – if you can spell it!

Meanwhile in my profession a patient tells me her son ‘ vomited and diarrhoea’d (how to spell that ?) all night.’ I suppose we’re used to ‘upping the ante’ whatever that might mean. However  ‘can the dose be upped’ is less comfortable somehow than ‘can I increase the dose? My colleagues don’t get my grammar sensitivity (‘just chill Bob’) But ‘vomitting’ & ‘inflammed’ – are popular nurse and doctor spelling bloopers  ( oh there’s a huge list). Maybe it’s one of those ‘synaesthesia’ problems – people seeing colours when tunes are played in different keys? But I feel sick when I hear these neologisms….. And now from the admindroids ‘ GPs will be ‘mandated’ to refer on dementia patients, whilst civil servants have been ‘tasked with’ raising diagnosis rates.

So now ( and this goes back to last century it’s quite possible to spot in an American paper ‘they were farewelled at the airport and gifted a rose bowl.’ (Oh, spellcheck allows ‘gifted’ and Garrison Keillor spake it on American Public Radio only last week, so maybe it’s OK now, Stateside).’

There’s been a historic mix up over nouns-as-verbs – consider the use

of ‘summonsed.’ Being summoned to court is not the same as being ‘summonsed’ –

presumably being delivered a summons a with legal implications for not

complying. Being summoned from the garden for supper usually carries only modest penalties for non-compliance.

There are plenty of uncontroversial uses of nouns-as-verbs : axing services / braking at stop signs. And although ‘he pedalled to victory’ is OK he ‘topscored’ is just lazy and innovation for its own sake – and to lend the writer some apparently superior skill in his area.

He penned a poem – is in common use ‘she authored a novel’ – is transatlantic newspeak. And where did ‘redacted’ come from might I ask? And in the world   of the arts films now ‘première’ in London and then show in the provinces – I think we’re getting lost in the distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs, aren’t we ? I mean the usherette shows you into the cinema, the projectionist shows the film

And where has this craziness come from ? – Across the pond of course! Course we can blame the Americans who not only tolerate but incentivise and now, er, showcase  these (bad) practices.

So  step foward , Miss Nancy Sinatra who got us all off on the wrong foot in 1969 with ‘These boots were made for walking ‘

You been lying, when you oughtta been truthing !


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