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I’m woke to the gerundification of English

April 29, 2019

Matthew Wright

English is a wonderful language that never ceases to surprise with its ability to evolve with society, to change and twirl through usage. It happens right before our eyes, in an astonishingly short time. And I don’t just mean the way that the noun ‘invitation’ has been supplanted by its verb form (‘to invite’), creating a new noun, ‘invite’. You know – ‘I got an invite to the party’.

Technically, a verb-turned-noun is a gerund. And I have to wonder, is this how English is changing at the moment? Verbs becoming nouns? Invite is not the only example. The other one I can think of is the way ‘woke’ is being used as a present-tense noun modifier, which means it is also a gerund. (‘Stay woke, folks’). When I was growing up it was a past-tense verb referring to sleep or realisation (‘I woke up’).

As far as I can…

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