“Quote” is a verb – and a couple other issues…

“Quote is a verb!” – or so a college professor of mine frequently thundered… Its use as a noun, though, is so part of the mainstream that I don’t think he’ll ever prevent its use as a noun. In his own college years, he had a reputation as a student of prodigious ability – often related to us by his colleagues or other professors – which made it difficult to challenge him or believe otherwise. To this day, I still feel a slight cringe when someone says “quote” when, technically, they should more properly say “quotation.”

Another favorite campaign of his was against “This wholesale use of nouns as adjectives!” An example he particularly hated was “personality conflict.” Did he really expect us to go around saying, “She and I have a conflict of personalities,” or “our personalities are in conflict?” I don’t know.  What I DO know, however, that at least his eccentricities got me thinking more about parts of speech and how they are used. Sadly, I’m still not that polished, but I often think about my days in his Roman History class when I’m writing. In fact, this was the same professor who wrote “This is probably worthless…” next to a book in a bibliography for one of my papers (which I blogged about before).

My dad was also influential as a grammatical watchdog when I was growing up. I could never say, “My brother and me are going to the store” without eliciting a grimace. So here’s a hearty “Yea!” for all those who help us write good, er I mean WELL – no matter how annoying they can sometimes be. (and no, I won’t say “Yay!” ’cause THAT’S NOT A WORD!” 🙂 )


  1. Rebecca M said,

    July 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Preach it Jay!!!! No one is listening to me. When you get on Jeopardy and have a national audience, point out in your “little known fact” that people who think Yay is a word will never make it on the show…or something like that!



    • Jay said,

      July 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm

      I can honestly say that I hope to some day have that opportunity…


  2. mummazappa said,

    July 16, 2011 at 1:07 am

    I can’t preach, I know grammar is not my strong point, but I do have the occasional internal snigger when someone says ‘pacifically’ instead of ‘specifically’ and pronounce ‘pronunciation’ as ‘pro-noun-ciation’ – the irony of that one kills me every time 🙂


    • Jay said,

      July 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

      Heh, well “supposably” 🙂 those are both incorrect.


  3. July 16, 2011 at 4:06 am

    My pet peeves are when someone says “us girls are going to do….” instead of “we girls are going to…” and when people say “haitch” instead of “aitch” for the letter H. So I think I would probably get along with your professsor!


    • Jay said,

      July 18, 2011 at 9:29 am

      You reminded me of another one I hear too often: “I’m getting my hair did.” That one almost causes an audible gasp of pain from me. I haven’t heard of the “haitch” instead of “aitch” but maybe I haven’t been listening closely…

      Another favorite, which you can only catch in print since the two variations are virtually homophones, is when people write “I’m suppose to go to the store” instead of “supposed to”

      Oh, and another favoirte: people who say “loose” when they mean “lose”. “I know I’m going to loose the game tonight.” Ugh! 🙂


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