Public notebook

To screen or not to screen


While the Calvin & Hobbes cartoon that cried “verbing weirds language” made a startement both wry and true, there are times when we can legitimately make the case for a new verb.

I’m not thinking of an unwanted and uninvited new word like “medalled”. That awkward verb will be said over and over this summer during London 2012, and I will feel a little pang of loss for our language every time. “Medalled” serves no new purpose – the nature of winning medals in sporting events has not changed noticeably – but it has manage to settle itself in to the vocabulary of our journalists and commentators almost unchallenged.