Tis better to gift?

I keep this old dictionary on my desk and use it often.

I love words. As a writer of words with music and words not attached to music, I’m indebted to them professionally. As a person who talks to others, I also find words to be very useful, as all talkers do. I enjoy reading and speaking words but I’m no expert on them.   Sometimes I wonder what makes people suddenly begin to use words one way when they could be used more fluidly (and sensibly) in another.

Let me gift you an example

The old blue Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary on my desk does indeed declare that the word “gift” is a verb, as well as a noun.  But to hear people speak it that way and to read it in print seems awkward to me.

“I would like to ‘gift’ this to you,” or “I was ‘gifted’ this by my friend.”  What? In print and in conversation, it seems that I can’t get away from this use of the word.

What happened to “give” as a verb? “I would like to give this to you,” or “I was given this by my friend,” seems to make a lot more sense.

Gift my love to Rose

…could have been Johnny Cash’s first choice for the title his famous country ballad. Had Cole Porter been so inclined, he might have written, “I gift to you and you gift to me, True Love, True Love.”  He also had every freedom to write, “Oh, gift me land, lots of land under starry skies above; Don’t fence me in.” Or Dolly Parton could have bemoaned, “Barely getting by, it’s all taking and no gifting,” in her song Nine to Five.  The genius songwriter/author Shel Silverstein could have called his classic book for children and adults, The Gifting Tree. Even Eminem had the opportunity, in his lovable hip-hop kind of way, to write and sing “Gift me the ball,” but he didn’t.

Gift me liberty!

As Independence Day approaches, we should remember that using “Gift: The Verb” falls under anyone’s definition of freedom of speech. It’s completely legal. It’s in the dictionary, for goodness sake.  Anybody can do it. But it’s all about choices. As for me, I choose not.  I gift you my word.

Visit www.leskerr.com to follow me on Facebook & Twitter – thanks!

Text & photos copyright 2012 Les Kerr


About Les Kerr

Les Kerr is a songwriter, recording artist, journalist and author originally from the Gulf Coast now based in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn More about Les at www.leskerr.com
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5 Responses to Tis better to gift?

  1. Libby Lu says:

    Brilliant gift of your words. ☺

  2. Florence Hupf says:

    Les, earlier this morning, a woman used the words, I’ll be regifting this…”, and I’ve also heard her use “gift” as a verb as well. Like doing the salsa on my last nerve. Thanks for the reassurance that I’m not the only one.

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