My sweet sister-in-law Suzanne has a beef with a man of the cloth:
Our pastor keeps saying every week that we need to "reverence God". I understand from my dictionary that reverence can be a verb as well as a noun, but wouldn't "revere" sound better?
W.O.W. to the rescue!
Yes, Suzanne, your ear is a good one. I can't put this one in the black and white category of "its and it's," but I can register my complaint about the sloppiness of usage that allows the willy-nilly transfer of one part of speech to another simply because today's writers and speakers don't have vocabularies rich enough to make use of the great words we already possess.
What is it that makes someone feels that "reverencing" God is better than "revering" Him? Reverence is the noun that is produced by the act of revering. Using reverence as a verb ends up reducing the impact of a beautiful noun.
And let's talk about "impact," shall we? Impact is a noun. The music has an emotional impact. Yes, I realize that it's now become acceptable to use it as a verb, as in, The music impacted me. But the only reason it's acceptable? Enough people misused it that some lame-brained dictionary finally included it as a "variant" and there you go...all other dictionaries that needed to sell a few copies had to fall in line so as not to appear backward. *Sigh* Because I write for businesses and organizations that can't seem to get enough of impacting their world, even I have succumbed.
But please, PLEASE don't ever expect me to use or even approve the further degradation of the word by letting it slide into adjectivity (hey, you like that??). The music was not, and must never be allowed to become impactful. Sorry, there are some lengths to which I will not go. Unless you're paying me a very large hourly fee and will accept full responsibility for the consequences.
Finally, I would be remiss if I addressed this topic and did not include one of my family's perennial favorite pet peeves, one of those words we love to hate: orientate. This is an example of a word that started out as a perfectly lovely verb (orient, meaning to familiarize a person with new surroundings or circumstances, or the like: lectures designed to orient the new students; OR to place in any definite position with reference to the points of the compass or other locations: to orient a building north and south). Then somewhere along the line it was expanded to the "tion" form to become a noun (orientation, meaning the act or process of orienting; OR the state of being oriented). So far, so good.
But it wasn't long before some folks who had no idea where the noun "orientation" came from tried to turn it back into a verb and completely, well, mangled the word. Friends...I don't care which dictionaries try to suck up to the masses by giving their grudging nod to "orientate," I will not be a part of this national travesty. No matter HOW much you pay me per hour. You'll have to find yourself another writer. Yes, even in a recession.
Suzanne, I would not recommend making an issue of reverencing God with your pastor. I'd just keep it out of your own speaking and writing :-)