I like our new mortgage broker. I really do. She’s friendly and helpful and she’s found us more money at a lower payment than we expected. I only have one problem with her: like so many Americans today, she seems to have forgotten that the word “gift” is a noun and not a verb.

One does not “gift” something to someone else. One gives something to someone else. A gift, for example.

It’s an annoying trend that I trace to recent news stories about the practice of “re-gifting”, or recycling unwanted presents by wrapping them up and giving them to someone else. Corporate types have been saying idiotic things like “let’s interface” and “can we dialogue?” for years now. However, I think the real root of this nagging tendency to turn nouns into verbs goes back to the heinous “new way to office” ad campaign used by Kinko’s about ten years ago. That one was quickly followed by California Pizza Kitchen’s “cool new way to pizza”, which was even worse.

Even so, I can see how one might be tempted to use “office” or “pizza” as a verb in a commercial, because there’s not really a comparable term. “Work”, for example, is a little imprecise, and “work in an office” is a little wordy. But why stoop to such liguistic abuse when there’s already an appropriate word like “give”? It bugs me on the same level as “orientate” and “orientated”, which some people have a tendency to use when they mean “orient” and “oriented”.

I’d really like to conversation with some of these people about the way they’ve been misbehavioring with resepct to the English language. But that’s something I’ve already statemented on many occasions.