Monday, 27 September 2004

You better shop around

From A Capital Idea, I learnt that the Christian Science Monitor has a language blog, Verbal Energy, by Ruth Walker. Here's an excerpt from a piece on the morphed transitive form of verbs like "graduate":

An official in Washington holding forth on education policy told National Public Radio the other day, "What's important is that young people graduate high school college-ready."

Well, if they want to graduate with honors, they might want to consider "graduating from high school," I sniffed.

I'm enough of a linguist not to stand in the way of linguistic change: as Walker points out, a generation ago proper usage was to say a school graduates a student e.g. "Tom was graduated from Harvard". But I can still say I dislike certain changes on purely aesthetic grounds. For one, I can't stand the parallel development of a transitive form with the verb "shop": I guess I still believe you shop at a store, not shop a store. (Example of the latter: "Shop Amazon.com for... new and used textbooks") I suppose the possible confusion with the @ sign - i.e. thinking the speaker meant "shop@amazon.com" - may have contributed to this development, but it's still annoys me.





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