Nouns and verbs

One of my pet peeves as the Word Police is how people misuse nouns. Too often people convert a noun into a verb. It usually sounds ridiculous and ignorant, sometimes pretentious. A common example, timely right about now, is the word “gift.” Tax planners have come to use the term “gift” to mean give. “You can gift $14,000 a year to each child without filing a gift tax return.” When there’s a perfectly good verb, use it. Don’t use the noun as a verb. Another noun that is probably too far gone to be saved from this misuse is “impact.” Even worse is when you change the word into a non-existent verb form, such as to verbize a noun. Yuck!

Another common mistake is the double whammy — taking a the adjectival form of a noun and converting that back to a noun. I heard a news announcer do that today with the word “courage.” It became “courageousness.” Sorry, but that doesn’t fly. The noun is courage, the adjective is courageous. That’s all you need. The double whammy can happen with verbs, too. Administer -> administration -> administrate. You don’t need the second verb form. Use the one you already have.