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A verb too far?

I notice that ‘inbox’ has entered the Open Dictionary, as a verb meaning ‘to send someone a private message in Facebook’. In an earlier post, I talked about how I quite like the practice of ‘verbing’, as it reflects the dynamic nature of society, but I have to say that this one grates on me. It just seems so bizarre. What’s wrong with ‘PMing’ (private message), ‘messaging’, or even ‘facebooking’? I suppose have an inboxinbox you is no different to get an email–email you, but somehow it seems so much more clumsy, and not just because it’s new. I had no problem with to ‘defriend’ when it first appeared, so why this one? Are there any instances of ‘verbing’ that cause you or your students particular trouble?

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Sharon Creese


  • > I suppose have an inbox–inbox you

    What? Your comparison of “email” and “inbox” makes no sense. You send an eMail and the person receives an eMail in their eMail client. So it’s fair to use eMail as a verb: you eMailed that person.

    You send a face book message and the person receives the message in their Inbox.

    You *never* send an Inbox. You send a message. So it makes no sense to use Inbox as a verb. If any noun is to be used as a verb, it is Message.

  • Language evolves … over time chair, table and butter all became verbs. Even acronyms can be verbed: he was KOed in the second round, she OKed the proposal, they ODed on heroin, please RSVP me.

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