September 14, 2009

Some Things Are Just Creepy.

Friend is not a verb

...like all the emails I got begging me to join Friendster. Like the idea of "Followers" on a Twitter account. (Do I WANT followers!? Need them?) Like the idea of "friending" someone. Really. It is NOT a verb.

Hat tip to Inky Girl: Diversions for Writers.

9 comments:

adrienne said...

I am so guilty of taking words and making them other parts of speech. I can't seem to help myself.

C.K. said...

Definitely. "Followers" conjures a picture of some crazy Kool-Aid drinking cult and the word "friending" is pretty creepy too.

Susan L. Lipson said...

Haha! Love the post and the comic. So true. I just wrote a blog about the equally annoying evolution--rather DEvolution--of the adjective "bad" into a noun, as in "My bad!" Check it out: www.susanllipson.blogspot.com
"Writing Memorable Words" blog

tanita davis said...

Adrienne: I do it, too. But my English major soul quails. I blame Buffy.
C.K. Remember Friendster!? All the wrongness started there...
Susan: Hah. My bad...!

Saints and Spinners said...

I can't use "friend" as a verb. I say "befriend" and that's all. Maybe someday I'll change my mind if friend as a verb becomes so firmly entrenched in the English language that it becomes correct useage. We'll see. Taking words and making them into other parts of speech is called a functional shift. It's fascinating (and sometimes frustrating) to study how language changes.

By the way, I think "followers" in Edwardian times had to do with female servants having boyfriends. "No followers" was often a rule.

No wonder that hierarchy didn't last.

a. fortis said...

Interesting about the Edwardian connotation of "followers."

I've definitely used "friend" as a verb (only for Facebook-related conversations) but it always feels vaguely wrong...as for "my bad," I'm so used to it, I guess, that it doesn't really bother me. I actually remember the first time I heard someone use it, when I was in high school, and thinking "errr?"

adrienne said...

Do you all ever read William Safire? His columns always crack me up, such fine language-related nerdy dry humor. When I grow up, I'd like to have that kind of confidence in my use of English.

a. fortis said...

I haven't read his column in awhile, but yes, he's great! I also like Richard Lederer for language-related humor.

tanita davis said...

I like Wm. Safire! I have a dream of being that articulate as well... sometimes I feel like my brain is mushy because I don't read challenging enough columnists - but I know it's just that I get tired of people not knowing what I mean when I use certain words.