Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Verbing in the news: "to fyi"

You've probably been following the story of Chris Comer, who was just fired as Director of Science Curriculum for the Texas Education Agency. Her crime was forwarding an email to a list about a lecture by a leading critic of Intelligent Design, which was counted as an endorsement of evolution. It's hard to even comment on the facts here.

At the Log, Bill Poser has just posted a note on the linguistics of this outrage, noting that interpreting the forwarding of an email as an endorsement of what's in the email is, well, wrong.

But there's a little tiny linguistic point in yesterday's NYT piece, here:
“I don’t see how I took a position by F.Y.I.-ing on a lecture like I F.Y.I. on global warming or stem-cell research,” Ms. Comer said.
To fyi, or to F.Y.I. as the Times copy editors prefer, just had to be out there … it sounds like perfect bureaucratic talk ... but I don't think I'd ever heard it and I'm pretty sure I'd never seen it in print.


The Ridger, FCD said...

Google "fyi-ing" or "fyiing" or "I'll fyi" or "want to fyi" - it's all over the place!

Mr. Verb said...

Yeah, it is, definitely. I'm obviously very out of touch with certain kinds of English!

The Ridger, FCD said...

"CC" is the same way, by the way. "I'll CC you" is very commonly heard (or seen) at work.

Verbs are like the Borg ... they assimilate!

(Though this is the strangest and stupidest comment I've ever heard about verbing: "The word “masses” is too useful as a plural to allow it to be hijacked for a verb".)