Should we verb?

25/01/2011

The use and misuse of language occupied my discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today.

 To verb or not to verb? That was the question posed by Anthony Gardner in you’ve been verbed.

It introduced me to the verb to handbag – to hit with a handbag; attack verbally or subject to criticism – which is attributed to Margaret Thatcher.

Michael Holroyd writes in The Guardian that the war against cliché has failed.

He concludes:

 So I try to quell my indignation, lower my blood pressure and keep a lookout for developments of language that are precise, witty, useful and have aesthetic value. Have you noticed any lately?

I haven’t.

Ben Yagoda writes about the elements of clunk in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

I was amused to read him lamenting the influence of Britishisms when so often those of us more accustomed to British English lament the way Americanisms have infected our spelling and grammar – the missing u  in favour and labour; the missing l in jewellery and travelled and my pet hate gotten when if it’s really necessary – and often it isn’t – got is all that’s required.


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