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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Turning nouns into verbs

cj Sez:  Okay, it’s half-time in the Super Bowl and that’s all the time I have to get this post out. So bear with me if there are more than a couple of typos. (sigh)

Reviews and Sales:

Another InD’tale review excerpt:  “Bryn has been her brother’s savior many times. The choices she is forced to make will resonate with the reader long after the story is finished.”


Publisher Crimson Romance is having a Valentine’s Sale on Amazon for the whole month of February. Choosing Carter and Deadly Star are among the deals. There is a HUGE selection. And, both novels are Free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. 

Now for the post:   

A couple of years ago friend sent me this quote from a fellow blogger, Sol Sanders:  “Perhaps the glory of the English language is that it so expressive. Its remarkable heterogeneous origins have given it an almost limitless vocabulary. And American English, particularly, has used that tool with an enormous flexibility to make it the international means of communication. One is able with a minimum of linguistic dexterity to capture every meaning, or almost every nuance.”

Mr. Sanders’s comments were part of an introduction to his essay on what today’s journalism and media do with the English language. The gist of his post is that journalists and media people overcomplicate their sentences with words that muddy their meanings rather than clarifying them—changing nouns into verbs and, perhaps, calling a shovel a “hand-held, earth-moving tool.” My take on this is that media and journalists employ an old trick of confusing the issue to persuade readers to their (the writer/editor) points of view

Turning nouns into verbs seems a clever way to uncomplicated sentences, but these may also confuse the issue (one I particularly dislike is “impactful;” a noun turned into a verb turned into an adjective by adding ful on the end. What the Sam Hill does that mean?).

The truth is, the English is a living language. It’s constantly evolving as we create new words and new definitions to compliment new technology. The caveat is that the generations cease to understand each other at an almost exponential pace. Many times I need an interpreter to understand teen-talk, and I think if I texted (a noun turned into a verb because of technology), I’d forget how to spell.  I sympathize with teachers who deal with this on a daily basis.

For me as a genre writer, the gloriously expressive English language is what makes my craft so fascinating.

Yes, I use nouns as verbs. Yes, I deliberately obfuscate . . . (adding the disclaimer that it’s for the sake of mystery). I am drawn to the syntax, symbolism, and syncopation of a well-drafted sentence that is the hallmark of successful mystery/thriller/suspense novelists. It’s using that “minimum of linguistic dexterity to capture every meaning, or almost every nuance” that appeals to me, and, I think, to readers of those genres. They want to try to decipher the code, find the clues, and solve the crime. I like trying to confuse the issue.

I’m still working on my craft. How are you doing with your genre?

Okay, back to the football game. You-all guys keep on keeping on and I’ll try to do the same. 

cj
cjpetterson@gmail.com
Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo

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