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I Didn't Author This


A brief discussion on Twitter with robhague reminds me it really is time I ranted briefly about the use of "author" as a verb. Now I know that the process of "verbing the noun" has been a feature of the evolution of the English language for while now and that's how living languages work. Most of it just washes over me but for some reason this one really gets on my nerves.

While walking around Milton Country Park with the dog when the journalist said on the podcast in my ears "he authored the book" I found myself shouting "he didn't bloody author it: he wrote it - he is the author". Luckily the only one around to hear this was Jack, and as the words didn't include "sit" or "treat" he wasn't that interested.

It is odd though, I'll happily say things like "I've open sourced this code", when I mean "I've released this code under an open source licence" so why does "to author" annoy me so much?

Having said that when you start to look into this "to author" is just scratching the surface. While doing a few Google searches I came across this page which offer an example of an email which uses consensus as a verb:

Having said that, wouldn't it be extremely important to get the operations people consensing with the [team] on the right approach? My concern is that the [team] might consens on something that the [operations people] think is a bad idea. Your thoughts?

Gak, perhaps "to author" isn't so bad after all!

Tags: words Written 10/01/11

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