Monday, December 10, 2007

grammatically speaking...

To be honest, I'm a bit of a stickler for grammar. I may not always be perfectly grammatically correct, but I consider myself better than most.

Up until recently that is, when someone on started a thread debate about using the word 'gift' as a verb. (As in, "I gifted my MIL with a handknit scarf.") We all are familiar with 'gift' as a noun, but is it proper to use it as a verb?

Most posted that they'd never use it as a verb, because not only does it not sound right, but argued that it was grammatically wrong. I've often - for the last few years anyway - noticed I was using it as a verb. I've no idea why I did, I just did. Probably picked it up from television in passing, because I doubt someone I know would use it this way.

A few random replies to other threads prompted other ravelry posters to emphasize their using 'gift' as a noun only and not a verb. This motivated me to look into whether or not the whole gift-as-a-verb issue is valid.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary (copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company), 'gift' is both defined as a noun and a verb:
gift (gĭft) n.
Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.
The act, right, or power of giving.
A talent, endowment, aptitude, or inclination.
tr.v. gift·ed, gift·ing, gifts
To present something as a gift to.
To endow with.
Although, despite other searches, including google, the word 'gift' remains defined as a noun only.
I've mildly studied language on occasion, and always came across something that surprised me. What I thought to be grammatically correct often wasn't, and what was often sounded funny. I suppose if we use a term often enough, it eventually becomes grammatically correct. New words are formed to describe new things that enter our lives daily. New expressions are formed to describe what we see and do. Despite how something may sound odd at first, it's the evolution of language.
In the end, I suppose, despite how it may get under the skin of (it seems) many fellow knitters, I'll continue to use 'gift' as a verb. 'Tis the season to use it, anyway.

1 comment:

mehitabel said...

Probably because I used to be heavily involved with schools, "gifted" to me goes with "gifted children." So when someone talks about a "gifted scarf" I start wondering what its particular talent might be... other than keeping a neck warm, of course! Otherwise, I'm in the camp that will "give" things rather than "gift" them. Unless I'm regifting.