Observations of an ordinary man

language

Inbox Me

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I’ve noticed a disturbing trend over the last couple of years where we are starting to treat nouns as verbs. It started a while ago with people needing to action things or leverage ideas. An action is something you do, you perform an action. You gain leverage, not leverage it. With such high use, these transitions to verbs are becoming the norm and a few dictionaries are now listing them as verbs.

Now I see inbox being use as a verb. “I’ve just inboxed you.” What does that statement even mean? An inbox is a holder for incoming messages, not an action to be performed. It’s a bit like saying “I need a lift so can you car me?”. I saw this phenomenon on The Simpsons a few years ago. Homer was trying to get Bart to have a heart attack, I think. He tells him to “bacon up that sausage and butter up that bacon.” They’re not the exact words but he did use bacon as a verb. Are we using The Simpsons for our language development now? I hope not.

We seem to be reverting to verbal short hand to get our ideas across. Is English evolving or dying a slow death because we are too lazy to use it correctly. I fear it is the latter. We create new words like twerk and doh! while wonderful words like discombobulate and conflagration fall by the way side. I don’t want to be coffeed up or inboxed, I want to be given a mug of coffee and sent a message.

It’s enough to make me want to dictionary people up, may even go so far as to thesaurus them.

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