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(21 Posts)
NinePeedles Mon 10-Mar-14 11:20:04

It really irritates me when people say they are sending "invites".
Surely you send "invitations"?
Is my irritation justified or not?

DadDadDad Mon 10-Mar-14 11:59:38

Well, surely life's too short to get irritated by things like this. Language changes, it's clear what "invites" means when used as a noun.

Personally, I usually try to remember to use "invitations", as I vaguely feel it is more correct and "invites" may be American, but that may be an unjustified prejudice.

Let's celebrate the fact that both are available, and "invitation" can remain a signal to those of us in the know that the writer is well-educated maybe? But I'm hardly going to look down on people who have nouned "invite", as many of them are probably well-educated too.

It irritates me too, but appears to be widely accepted nowadays, so I think I'm just going to have to live with it.

CatWithKittens Tue 11-Mar-14 10:18:44

If we ceased to be annoyed by the "nouning" of verbs - to say nothing of the "verbing" of nouns and other excrescences on the lnaguage - we would surely have little right to use Pedants' Corner - or any need of it.

CatWithKittens Tue 11-Mar-14 10:21:55

And if, in our haste to vent our spleens, we checked our typing, we would be less vulnerable to being "flamed".

DadDadDad Tue 11-Mar-14 11:32:28

Why are nouning and verbing excrescences? I believe Shakespeare did it and writers and spelled have been doing it for centuries

prism Tue 11-Mar-14 14:08:06

They are excrescences for a number of reasons, one of which being the fact that they are rarely done for reasons of style. There are exceptions, like Shakespeare, but by and large when bad English usage crops up in Pedants’ Corner it’s because it betrays a failure to think about meaning. The English language already has a very large number of words in it, and when people ignore the many options they have, and instead choose (generally en masse) some other word that is meant for some other purpose, it diminishes the richness of the language.

Now of course I’m aware that this is part of the reason we do have such a large lexicon, but that’s no reason not to examine new usage and try to see if it adds to the English language or takes away from it. Personally I can see no benefit in making “invite” into a double-purpose word, when we already have a perfectly good noun for the thing that you give to someone in order to invite them to an event. And I can’t see any benefit in ignoring a number of useful verbs, and instead subsuming them into a noun- “impact”- which is then tasked with being a proxy verb for all of them. It’s just laziness, and a kind of herd mentality to words. Shakespeare was a great writer because he chose his words very carefully- “invite”, as a noun, is not the result of a careful choice.

JessieMcJessie Tue 11-Mar-14 16:42:51

Ha ha. DH-to-be and I are in the process of finalising our wedding guest list and if he refers one more time to "sending out the invites" I may have to call the whole thing off grin

At least he doesn't call the electricity "the electric" though...

DadDadDad Tue 11-Mar-14 23:41:43

prism - I'd love to see evidence for a single one of the claims you make, because they sound like unsubstantiated prejudices, eg when Shakespeare does it it's creative genius, but when anyone else does it you are sure they are just being ignorant. Adding new words or usages to a language does not diminish the words that are already there, it celebrates humans' wonderful ability to innovate, eg rather than say "people choose in common with everyone else" you decided above to poach a nifty bit of French and say "en masse"

Also, I'm sure I remember "task" being a noun but you happily verbed it in your post! Why did you do that and neglect alternatives like "employed as a proxy verb" or "used as a proxy verb"

prism Tue 11-Mar-14 23:51:59

Ha! I wondered if anyone would spot that bit verbing.

Well, DadDadDad, if Shakespeare isn't a creative genius, why did you cite him as some kind of vindication for the verb-as-noun practice? Make your mind up. Personally I don't think that every non-standard use of words is innovative; some of it is lazy crap, which is why I like Pedants' Corner, where it would appear that not every new twist of English usage is accepted without question. But that is just my personal preference.

DadDadDad Wed 12-Mar-14 00:02:03

Would you ever use any of the following verbs?
mail, strike, salt, pepper, switch, sleep, ship, train, stop, drink, cup, lure, mutter, dress, divorce, fool, and merge
Apparently, all these words started as nouns, so good luck finding non-clunky alternatives to all of these.

I remember years ago cringing at that dreadful Americanism "hospitalise" , making a verb out of hospital. Now I just accept it as a concise alternative that doesn't reveal laziness just a desire to avoid long-winded "taken to the hospital".

I got the above list here

DadDadDad Wed 12-Mar-14 00:04:51

I do think WS was a creative genius, but there is a spark of creativity in all of us, so I resent when you claim when the rest of us do it it's just being lazy.

prism Wed 12-Mar-14 00:14:14

I am not claiming that at all, and I can't think why you would think that I am. Shakespeare is one example of someone who made novel uses of words to good effect, an example introduced by you. There are plenty of other examples. You do not have to be a famous writer to do it- anyone can. But equally it is possible to make non-standard use of words to no good effect.

DadDadDad Wed 12-Mar-14 00:20:07

I agree that pedants' corner is great for scrutinising current usages to decide if they plain errors or just a change that is becoming accepted. I'm a bit suspicious of jumping to the conclusion that people are being lazy - how do you know that's why they did it?

prism Wed 12-Mar-14 00:24:59

As a matter of fact, the last time someone sent me an "invite" (it was someone I know extremely well, so I was OK asking) I asked her why she hadn't called it an "invitation'. She said it was because she was being lazy.

One example only, I must admit, but do feel free to research further...

DadDadDad Wed 12-Mar-14 00:29:42

i am not claiming that at all, and I can't think why you would think that I am

Because when you wrote about using impact as a verb you said "it's just laziness", imputing laziness to anyone who verbs in a way you object to.

Like you I suspect, I grind my teeth a little when a manager says "what are our key learns?" (Turning a verb into a noun). But I can't necessarily infer laziness, just because they reach for a cliche when speaking off the cuff, the way we all do.

prism Wed 12-Mar-14 00:40:39

Hmm. Not sure whether I'm more repulsed by the use of "learns" as a noun, or of "key" as an adjective.

OK. I am in fact the lazy one. Once it is clear that people are reaching for clichés, rather than thinking about what they are saying and choosing their words, I do indeed infer laziness. If there is a more sophisticated explanation, I would be interested to hear about it, but as a pedant, I'm just interested in what is good English and what is bad.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 14-Mar-14 01:46:14

It's not American; usage here in the US still tends to favor "invitation."

I do try to be a liberal pedant, but I do not like "invite" as a noun. I also never say "quote" when I mean "quotation."

JeanSeberg Thu 20-Mar-14 22:05:39

It's a big ask not to be annoyed by invites. grin

JessieMcJessie Fri 21-Mar-14 01:34:50

grin grin

holycowwhatnow Mon 24-Mar-14 23:56:23

Another really annoying one is people using the word 'quote' instead of 'quotation' eg I got a quote for new windows. Don't like it. Never going to.

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