Want to become a better writer? Fight the trend to verbize words

Are you one of the crowd of –ize guys who insist on turning innocent nouns into barbarous pseudo-verbs? May a stray meteor tenderize, pulverize and atomize you.

One of the most fascinating aspects of any language is that it’s alive, it evolves. Dictionary editors labor over lists of possible new entries when they’re compiling their revised edition. They then decide which words will make the cut and which ones won’t—at least not yet.

Twenty years ago, for example, you would not have found e-mail, repurpose or bioinformatics in your Oxford English Dictionary; today it’s a different story.

Nevertheless, while the English language continues to evolve, there’s no reason to push it along unnecessarily.

Marketing folks and ad copywriters have been known to take license with the language—with mixed results. A company I used to work for once ran a campaign it called customerize. Mercifully, it was short-lived, its demise attributed in part to having brought customers’ eyes to tears.

Other companies, such as Simoniz, have succeeded in making an indelible mark; you’re not merely waxing your car, you’re simonizing it. And then there’s Ted Turner, who still owes the world a big, fat apology for colorizing black-and-white movies.

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