Slaughtering Americans

No, today’s post isn’t about genocide. Shame on you for thinking that. Today’s post is about Americans that slaughter the English language. No wonder there are so many problems. Americans have got to be the largest word-creating society. If we don’t know a word, we make one up. Now, there are those few Charles Emerson Winchester III type people that speak in perfect English. But there are so many of us that just create words out of laziness of looking one up that fits what we’re saying. Shoot, I’ve met English majors/professors that made words up just because they didn’t like their options. (Hmmm, can I do that with other things in life? “I’m sorry, I don’t like the price on this cable bill, I’m going to change it to $5 for unlimited usage.”)

You want an example? Ok, first, the ‘crime’ (even though I don’t believe it to be a crime and I am absolutely guilty of this, but this is a fun post, so shut up!). Taking an adjective and making it into a noun. Or taking a noun and turning it into a verb. Or just taking a proper noun and turning it into a common noun. Here are some examples:

Xerox: Once upon a time, there was this company that made a copy machine. Their name was/is Xerox. They became so popular that people substituted the word Xerox for copy whenever they felt like it. Instead of saying “I’m going to go copy this” people said “I’m going to go xerox this.” Now, WordPress should have underlined my ‘xerox’ in that sentence since it’s not truly the verb. On the other hand, it has been accepted as a verb as well as a common noun.

Google: Once upon a time, there was a little company that came up with an awesome idea. That company is Google. Who has used the phrase “I’m going to google _____.” Googling is now a term as well. Twenty years ago, people would’ve made fun of you for saying the word ‘google’ because it made you sound nerdy. Nowadays, people look at you like your crazy if you don’t know the term.

Kleenex: The most classic example of a proper noun turned into a common noun. I discovered when I was about 13 years old that the phrase Kleenex was not the true term for a tissue. Wow, was I shocked. Since then, I’ve used tissue as often as possible, to the point that my 3-year old asks for a tissue instead of a Kleenex. Thank goodness I nipped that one in the bud before it got out of hand.

There are more examples, but I don’t feel like naming them all. So, I guess it’s time for useless arrogant me trivia.

I forgot to answer the previous question in my last post. So the answers are Christopher and Kimberly.
Today’s question is: Which power do I wish I had the most?
a) The ability to hear thoughts
b) The ability to fly
c) The ability to move objects
d) The ability to teleport myself


One Response

  1. Tomorrow we will correct the grammatical typos…unless you put them in on purpose. 😉

    You should have mentioned “gift”. hehehe

    Ooh, I’m torn between c and d…I could see how you would want both.

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