“Verbalizing” Nouns: A Dangerous Business #WritingLegally

Posted on 01-12-2016 by
Tags: writinglegally , legal writing , Upgrading Your Skills , Writing Legally , #writinglegally , grammar , writing

The suffix “–ize” is on the loose, verbalizing and uglyizing our language.

Some people think you can tack “–ize” onto any noun and create a verb; however, many nouns have no business being used as verbs.

Verbalizing nouns is a dangerous business with the result often tongue-twisting, bureaucratic-sounding clutter.

This is according to the publication When Words Collide, 4th Edition. Of course, yesterday’s awkward jargon is today’s respectable word. And, as the It is difficult to say how many of the newly created, tongue-twisting –ize verbs will become permanent additions to our language. While we are all awaiting the verdict, we can subject an awkward-sounding “–ize” verb to three tests:

  1. Is it listed in the dictionary as an acceptable (not informal, colloquial or slang) word?
  2. Does it have a unique meaning?
  3. Does it have a sound that is, at the very least, not displeasing?

If the word passes these tests-use it. If it fails, find another word. Do not jargonize and awkwardize the language. It may be all right to pasteurize milk, but it is not yet acceptable to zucchinize a casserole.

The above article was written using information from the publication When Words Collide authored by Lauren Kessler, and Duncan McDonald.

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