Verbing Words

I’ve been complaining for years about Corporatese, that weird language where words are meaningless. On reflection though, I think I’ve been too sweeping in my disdain for verbed words. You know, words like “to action”. As in, “Yeaaah….I’m going to have to get you to go ahead and action this list of pointless tasks.” Or “productize” and the whole fun-loving “ize” family.

But verbing words can be so much more meaningful as a communication tool. Example:

Me: Someone put their garbage in our garbage can.

Kaiser: Tough luck.

Me: It’s disgusting. Our own garbage is nasty enough without some foreign stinky garbage in there.

Kaiser: Tough luck.

Me: Are you tough-lucking me? Are you tough-lucking me?

The meaning here is quite clear. At least it was to the Kaiser.


~ by standupmimi on January 30, 2009.

One Response to “Verbing Words”

  1. I love the fact that some words are both nouns and verbs.
    Love is one of those, actually. “My love is like a rose” and “I love her too much”

    Some words are easy to “verb” and have become a part of the language now. “Let’s action these last few items” for instance. Action sort of sounds like it might be a verb, after all. Interestingly it’s really a noun about verbs.

    The process of -ing is a fun one. It allows ad-hoc verbs to be created out of the moment and no one thinks they’re really words, They’re convenient and make a lot of sense, as we see above, in the context of the moment. I doubt “tough-lucking” will stick in the minds of English speakers, but you never know.

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