Dec 202007

I’m usually a bit of a stickler for trying to use language correctly. I realise that one of the beauties of the English language is the way new words and phrases are coined, and I will defend the right of people to do so, but it doesn’t mean I need to like all of them. Like the current use of gift as a verb. To me it seemed obvious that you should always use give instead, until I realised that the meaning is actually to give as a gift. Which isn’t as tautologous as it sounds, since the verb “give” has many meanings, only some of which have to do with the giving of gifts.

It seems to be mainly used in one of two contexts:

  1. To give as a gift something that the giver made (or could have made), such as knitted or baked items. Perfect for baking and gifting, for example.
  2. And the notorious regifting, the giving of a gift to someone else that the giver was given. There seem to be whole treatises written around how to do this at this time of year.

I’ve never heard gift used as a verb in spoken English, but it crops up a lot on blogs and email lists written by Americans. I’m sure the usage will spread and figuring out the subtle difference in meaning to give makes it easier to take. Mind you, I still don’t like it much.

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