In which Jo gets a little pissy about language.


Gifted (passive voice).


When did "gift" become a verb? When did it become acceptable to say that your mother-in-law gifted you with a Precious Moments figurine? How is it okay to say that something is good for gifting or is giftable?

And when did skirting start describing pieces of fabric with buttons at the top? Skirting is either something one does around an issue, or vinyl sold by the linear (not lineal) foot at the mobile-home dealership. One buys a skirt. One does not purchase skirting to wear on one's body, unless one is suiting up for a particularly bizarre costume party. (Halloween costumation ideas, right here on Headly Nursingtons!)

A million years ago, my parents would sit around the breakfast table in their bathrobes, reading out loud from the Wretched-Comical, our local newspaper. Dad went into fits one day over the headline "GIFTABLE SWEATERING," then read the accompanying ad copy out loud with hoots and snorts. I think it might've been 1980 or thereabouts; my sister was home for Christmas break from college. She, being the English major in the house, had lots to say about giftable sweatering.

Then, about a month ago, somebody on my beloved Hairpin used the term "for gifting." The somebody in question was an actual contributor, not a commenter, and nobody called her out on it. Nobody. "Gifting" was okay.

I felt a little like I'd been dropped into a reality I wasn't familliar with. With which I wasn't familliar; whatever. I'm not opposed to splitting the infinitive if it makes reading easier.

I am, however, opposed to gifting and skirting.

(Before anybody asks, yes, I'm poncy about "nursing" as a job description as well. "Nursing" feels like it ought to be limited to breasts and babies. "Being a Nurse is My Bag" doesn't flow, though, and looks crappy on a reusable grocery sack. Yeah, I'm weird.

At least I'll never turn "surgeon" or "patient care aide" into verbs. That's my promisation.)