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That's What They Say
Sun July 15, 2012
Sometimes, you just have to let your noun become a verb
English is evolving, and to keep up with the times, some nouns are becoming verbs. One such noun-verb is "impact."
"Linguists call this 'functional shift,' when a word moves from one part of speech to another," said Anne Curzan, a professor of English specializing in linguistics at the University of Michigan.
Although this isn't a new phenomenon, technology seems to be having an influence on the switch. With search engines came the phrase "to Google something," and now we can "friend" or "un-friend" others.
"I actually think [impact's] fairly useful," Curzan said. "It's a quicker way to say 'to have an impact on.'"
This functional shift between nouns and verbs causes irritation, especially when impact is involved.
Michigan Radio's Rina Miller asked, "I don't want anybody to suffer angst -- do they just need to let go?"
Curzan said because of English's flexibility and ability to evolve, changes in the language are inevitable.
-Thea Card, Michigan Radio Newsroom