Sunday, June 06, 2010

"Gifted" is not a verb

Wow. Two posts in two days. It looks as though I'm going for a record, today...


Since when have we needed to find a new way of saying "given" or "donated"? These are perfectly good words, are they not? Do they not express the action of moving one object or substance from one person or group to another via an act of largesse? Why do we suddenly (well, within the past decade or so) have to appropriate a noun or an adjective to serve as a new verb?

I do not "gift" you a present on your birthday, even if I like you heaps. I might give you a spiffy prezzie, but that's as far as the word goes. If I say, "My sister is gifted," you should presume not that she has been donated to the nearest charitable organization, but that she has an extraordinary talent (and you would presume correctly about her extraordinary talent, no matter which of my sisters you envisioned). Or, for those people who care not a whit about my family, how do you like the notion that butchering the language is going to kill the humor in one of the many genuinely laugh-out-loud scenes in Blazing Saddles -- the one where Sheriff Bart meets Lili Von Shtupp in her dressing room, after she puts out the light... "is it twooo?"

Nobody "gifted" Sheriff Bart. And, yet, he was gifted, by God.

1 comment:

Joan of Argghh! said...

I have a pet rant about "my ask" or, "it's a big ask."

Seriously. Some neologisms just muddle the concept.