This is a guest post by Jeannine Sohayda. If you want to write for Daily Writing Tips check the guidelines here.
I was disappointed yesterday when, while cruising Facebook, I noticed a national pharmacy company’s request for me to “fan” them. I simply cannot agree to become a fan of a company that thinks turning nouns into verbs is hip and thereby will increase its customer base. If they had instead asked me to “become a fan”, I may have indeed considered it, because I do shop there often.
I’m no stranger to nouns becoming verbs; we’ve all “Googled” for information. I must admit, it was refreshing to see that Twitter asks its users simply to “follow” other users on its site. I suppose “Twitter me” would make no sense.
However, the word “fan” is already both a noun and a verb, and to see it used in this way was particularly jolting. By the way, even the word “verb” is a noun.
I often wonder what it must be like for people who are just learning English. While they are trying to find words and phrases to get them through their days in English, we are simultaneously butchering and deconstructing our own language, making it difficult even for native speakers to understand each other. If we were to think about it in reverse, about the difficulties of learning Chinese, for example, as Americans we would be infuriated at the idea of their randomly adding new words as we page in vain through our phrase book.
If we want people to speak, write and, in general, communicate understandably in English, I’d like to suggest that we set a good example and use the language as it was intended: as a means to illuminate rather than obfuscate.
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