Savage Love Letter of the Day: Mistakes Were Made (Math Remains Hard)


The verb form of "gift" is just execrable. It must stop. Do not perpetuate that shit.
It's good of Dan to own up to the fact that he wasn't properly parented.

I don't like the verb usage of "gift" either, but I have trouble objecting to the verb "regift." Is it possible that the verb "regift" became popular first and served as the gateway drug for "gift" as a verb?

Nobody should listen to me though. I have an irrational hatred of the used of the word "concerning" to mean tending to cause concern/troubling/worrisome, rather than regarding. I refuse to accept that the word has been used that way for a long time and would vote to flog people for saying things like "that is very concerning for me." Of course, people saying it to describe that which is forbidden should not be flogged or we'd end up in a Life of Brian situation.
Hate to break it to you, but "gift" as a verb has been around for 400 years.

"The use of gift as a verb is not new, at least according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which lists examples of gift used to mean to make a present of from as early as the 17th century."


"Incidentally, there is a second, less controversial verb sense of gift: namely, to bestow with gifts, the gifts here being talents, skills, powers, and other positive qualities. The word in this sense usually appears in the participial form—e.g., “She is gifted with great musical ability.”"

As with many things grammatical, it's another case of young people needing to get off your lawn.
Not that I am in love with the verb form of "gift" either, but I could see there being a practical distinction (should one develop) between it and "give". I think of "give" in the generic sense of transferring something to another person - so that a boss might tell his assistant "Give this contract to John over in Legal." I think of "gift" in the sense of an actual present - "He gifted me with a new car!".

I may be the only person who thinks of it this way, but I wouldn't be surprised, if "gift" catches on, that its use would primarily be for the latter case, whereas it wouldn't fit at all in the former, where "give" would still be appropriate.
Kind of along the lines of what cowboyinbria is saying, I actually don't think "gift" (as a verb) and "give" mean exactly the same thing. "Give" is a more general, all-purpose word; "gift" has more nuance and conveys more information than the word "give" does. In some contexts you could substitute "give" for "gift" without losing any meaning, but in other contexts "gift" explains more definitively than "give" the nature of the giving.

"He gave me his coat" could mean "he handed me his coat;" but "he gifted me his coat" is less ambiguous.
I think Dan speaks at least some German. "Give" is "geben", "to gift" is "schenken". It makes a nice distinction between the all-purpose "give" and the stuffy "donate".
I have no beef with gift/gifted as verbs. My irrational hatred is aroused by 'proffer' as a generic replacement for 'offer,' especially when done incorrectly, but more generally when done to make something seem more elegant. Proffer has a much more specific correct usage than offer, and even when used properly it makes the speaker/writer sound like an ass.
My eyes roll involuntarily when anyone uses "whilst."
Liberal grammar police should come ride the bus in Oakland. They could grit their teeth over all the mistakes in "Where you at?", and then silently scold themselves that Ebonics is a valid and valuable dialect worthy of respect not scorn. The self-loathing could spiral out of control.
Yeah, I'm afraid GOAT is wrong on all counts. Not all things that are given are gifts. You couldn't really say, for example, "He gifted me herpes" or "She's trying to gift me a hard time."

"To gift" means "to give as a gift" -- it is a much narrower, more specific kind of giving.
"Gift" as a verb makes me cringe too, only because it is so overused. Could you use "give"? THEN USE "GIVE." Is using "give" ambiguous? Then use "gift."
But I've never been cranky enough to correct somebody on it.
One could bestow, donate, grant, bequeath, or simply "gave… as a gift", in the rare occasions when one ever discusses this activity. ‘This double-Trump-headed dildo? It was given to me as a gift."

To say, "I gifted this amazing mug to my friend," makes one sound like a copywriter for smarmy radio advertising. If you want people to think less of you, by all means, gift away!
…or should that be "lesser"?
The LW just wanted an excuse to talk about dildos of above average intelligence, like from WestWorld. Mind you, this conversation gives me the feels.
@11 You also probably enjoy having friends.
Verbing weirds words
*pushes taped nerd glasses up bridge of nose*

@16 Actually,…
GOAT, this may irritate you but it's not incorrect. I get riled up when people use the word utilize when use is perfectly acceptable but I also accept that language evolves.
@7 @8 Whilst I understand from whence you both opine, I proffer a contrary view: wevs.

wevs = whevs = whatevs = whatever
Please stop trying to guilt me into not using nouns as verbs without dialogueing on that issue. I've been efforting like crazy to stop!
"Why didn't someone else do more".
- The mating call of the useless person
@20 No wants to bring up "Xeroxing"? "Microwaving"? All nouns should be verbs, it creates a much more vibrant language. I'm bout to Oven me some brownies, personally.
@22 Interesting...Xerox has to fight like crazy to keep their brand name from losing it's trademark status, just like Kleenex, etc...

A few brand names, once trademarked, that have lost their protected status and are now public domain...Aspirin, Cellophane, Escalator, Trampoline, Dry Ice, Kerosene, Laundromat, Linoleum, Yo-Yo, Zipper, TV Dinner.
Here are a few more that are still trademarked, but are close to losing their unique status:
AstroTurf, Band-Aid, Bubble Wrap, Chapstick, Crock-Pot, Dumpster, Fiberglass, Formica, Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Jacuzzi, Mace, Ping Pong, Plexiglass, Q-Tips, Saran Wrap, Styrofoam, Super Glue, Teflon, Velcro
I was about to say to @16 that I wished there were a "like" button, and then I read @17, and wished for a "love" button!

Oh. Wait... That came out wrong.
I do talk to my white conservative family members with as much reasoned calm arguments that I can, on the rare occasions that I see them, though I'm not a yearly holiday visitor. But I don't think it changes their minds, but at least it lets the others sitting in silence know that passive acquiescence isn't the only response possible.

Stop passively allowing horribleness just because you're related to people, DIA. You don't have to visit them, but when you do, at least let them know not everyone agrees with them.
Many good points have been made about the use of the word "gift" as a verb. In the end, I think I probably come down about where BDF did @11. It annoys me some because it's overused and usually unnecessary. I'd like to say it being technically correct is why I wasn't very vehement in my dislike @2, but really I was just using @1's comment as an excuse to go on my rant about how I hate the use of "concerning" to mean troubling or worrisome.

I feel like I went through the first 40+ years of my life never noticing that people were doing this awful thing and suddenly I'm noticing it all the time, but nobody else seems to think it's a new or odd usage at all. Does anybody else here hate hearing statements like "the recent developments in Syria are very concerning"?

Maybe I've just blocked out all my earlier memories of this appalling usage.
dcp123, although I respect your opinion, I actually like the word concerning as an adjective -- I think it's useful and I can't think of any other word that has the same connotations. Just as troubled and worried are stronger and more emotional words than concerned, troubling and worrisome connote stronger emotion than does concerning.

I have definitely heard people say utilize when they look mean use, however, and that drives me crazy! "Conversate" just makes me laugh...
Ugh. Bad usage literally makes my head explode.

Gift as a verb is just as easy to say and write as give, is grammatically correct, and conveys a more precise meaning.

"I gave her my car."
"To have or to borrow?"
"To have."


"I gifted her my car."
Gifted means given as a gift; given does not connote that. So the word is useful.

Damn prescriptivists.