Friday, July 21, 2006

Trying to suss this one out

The NPR blog notes something I hadn't heard before, namely using the term effort as a verb. Their (possibly invented) cite: We're efforting to get an interview with the president of Kazakhstan.

I'm clearly out of the loop on this one, because it's been the topic of various discussions (or so Google tells me) for at least a little while. Predictably, the usual suspects are apoplectic about the word. I found a nice comment in a forum discussion, though: I love this kind of stuff, and i'm not even a native speaker . Lovely proof that English is not a dead language!!!

Not that anyone had recently suggested as such, as far as I know.

This Web page helpfully posits a definition: ... 'efforting.'; By this he meant the act of putting your attention on a goal or target result while you are in the act of doing something. (I didn't say it was a good definition.)

Anyway, the famous Google currently reports 23,300 hits for efforting, the clearest use of the term as a verb, imo.

I must admit that I'm a little puzzled by this one. Normally when you encounter a new term, whatever your opinion of it, you can at least get a sense of where it came from. This one, less so. In fact, even I (gasp!) find the term a little awkward, perhaps even forced. It seems more, haha, effortful to use the term than its more common analogs. And, like ... what's the past tense? We efforted mightly, but did not succeed -- ? Seems a little odd.

But we'll see. [Insert closing sentence here that uses the term in question.]


Nancy Friedman said...

I first heard "efforting" as a gerund more than 10 years ago; a client told me to write some piece of copy because "we're not into efforting." The term for this verb-to-noun transformation, by the way, is "anthimeria," and once you notice it, you see it everywhere. (Impact, leverage, access...and the incomparalbe "pimp my ride.") Ben Yagoda wrote an interesting "On Language" column about anthimeria a couple of Sundays ago in the NY Times magazine, and I picked up the thread in a post ("Verb My Noun") on my own blog.

WordzGuy said...

I saw the link on your blog -- indeed, I saw the entire discussion of anthimeria -- but the article is old enough (7/9) that it's past the free period on the NYT site. :-(

In fact, I efforted to leave a long comment on that entry, but I must "of" hit the wrong button, coz it's gone, man. The more I think about that lost comment, the more eloquent it becomes, too. :-)