Tag: using English verbs

Verbs And Other Things…

One of the ongoing threads of readers’ contributions is “The Verbing of America” (as Bulletin Board’s editor ironically dubbed it). Launched as a language lover’s lament about the bowdlerizing of English, this discussion thread has pilloried such slangy coinages as columnize, which you may have winced at in my first sentence.

Lately, however, “The Verbing of America” entries have sometimes taken a fonder view of the colorful phrasings spotted and submitted by readers. For example, one Bulletin Board correspondent recently wrote in to report, with delight rather than dismay: “I was at choir practice last night, and we came to this part in this piece that we’re singing where our choir director, Steve, wanted the chorus to swell and get all … big. He said: `I really want it big. I want it Cecil B. DeMilled.’ ”

Verbs can be tough for non-native English speakers.

True, if you look in even the heftiest, least-abridged dictionary under “Cecil B. DeMille,” you will not see “v.–to make extravagantly large and showy.” But even language purists would have to confess: You know exactly what Steve the choir director wanted, right? And he couldn’t possibly have said it any more clearly or colorfully.

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