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.
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Text & photos copyright 2012 Les Kerr