Wednesday, January 28, 2009


In school, math was not my strength (five years of counting 7000 packs of cigarettes each night solved that problem). English, on the other hand, was.

My spelling was well advanced of my age, and I taught myself how to read (through the aid of Star Wars read-along books...back when they came with records tucked into the back cover, then also when they came with audio tapes).

I was reading Stephen King by age 10 (Cujo has a particularly inappropriate chapter for a 10-year old), and Douglas Adams by 12.

It was the only class I ever did consistently well in, until my last two years of high school when video productions became an option.

I love words. I'm fascinated by punctuation. I am excited at the prospect of good grammar.

And I am utterly furious that the language I know as English is regularly raped and abused by people who claim to speak it.

The biggest offender of recent years? Guard yourself for truth:

Google is not a verb.

That's right. I have had entirely enough of people telling me to "google" things. Just as I do not refer to tissue as "kleenex", nor do I ask for a "coke" when what I really want is a Sprite, I refuse to "google" something what what I really want to do is "search for a topic on the internet".

No, I do not care how many dictionaries include a company name as a transitive verb. It is not. No matter how many times advertising asked us "Do you Yahoo?", I don't believe anyone actually has Yahooed anything. I certainly don't recall numerous news articles relating to the addition of "Yahoo" into this dictionary or that as term referring to the use of an internet search engine.

So why "google"?

What is so special about "google" that it deserves a permanent place in our language, with a definition that does not necessarily require the use of the Google search engine in order for the term to apply?

That's right. "Google" is intended to be a general term. It's defined as being any internet search query using any internet search engine. You might find yourself "googling Webcrawler on Yahoo" if you're not careful.

I recently found myself in a heated argument about this very topic. When I decided to stop, accepting that my opponent would not be swayed on the matter, I was told that I should "Pick [my] battles".

Pick my battles? The entire sum of my post-secondary education - many thousands of dollars thereof - revolves around the English language, either in it's application or it's construction. The addition of a word like "googled" to the dictionary is like having someone piss on my face: I didn't ask for it, I don't want it, I don't appreciate it, and it is as offensive as it is abusive. Pick my battles? Hell, this is the battle I spent most of my life preparing for! The problem is that I'm hopelessly outnumbered, and most of the enemy doesn't even realize that they've started a war.

I don't substitute numbers for words. I know how to use a comma and an apostrophe.

I know how to spell apostrophe.

I do not err when employing the variations of your and you're or too, to and two.

And if everyone on earth who had ever used "google" as a verb were to die tomorrow, I would be one step closer to knowing true happiness.

Because I would still be here.

And I would have one less battle to fight.

1 comment:

Phil said...

And if everyone on earth who had ever used "google" as a verb were to die tomorrow, Earth would be a giant step closer to hosting a sustainable human population.