partnerWhy do otherwise supposedly intelligent people insist on using nouns as verbs?

It all started many years ago when “partner” slipped over to the dark side, and now everybody is partnering. Right now there are kindergarten students who aren’t asked to choose a partner for the tour of the pig exhibit, but are told to partner with the person sitting next to them. Go into any corporate meeting and you’ll find people shamelessly partnering all over the place.

The next victim was “learning.” (In this case, verb to noun.) Before we could recover from partnering, we found that “learnings” and its evil twin “key learnings” had invaded the halls of sanity.

I don’t know who started the whole idea of “gifting.” I saw it first on Amazon, then it infested Belk’s, and now everybody is using it.

noun_sometimes_verb_adjective_noun_tshirt-p235440881792831239uye8_400At a client’s office awhile back I was talking to a consultant from one of those big consulting firms about setting up a lunch. She said she could “calendar” me in on Tuesday. You can’t make this stuff up.

We don’t send a message, we “messenger.”

How long before we “agenda” a meeting?

Or “homework” an assignment?

Or “computer” a data base?

William Safire in his ”On Language” column in The New York Times Magazine reminded us that words that fall into common usage soon become acceptable.

I feel betrayed. Safire might as well have said he had a key learning about usage.

Personally, I want to partner with a psychiatrist so she can gift me with some medication that can help me accept the inevitable. I guess I might as well calendar a time to see her.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.