“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!” 🙂 )

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