Googled It on Youtube

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. I actually heard someone say “I googled it on Youtube.”

Google, of course, is a search engine, not a verb. If it were a verb, it would most likely mean to search for something on the Google search engine. It would not logically mean to search for something on the Internet since myriad search engines exist, all of which are as deserving as Google to be turned into verbs.

I know. I know. Plenty of people who use yahoo google it rather than yahoo it, which doesn’t make any sense, but at least it’s the same concept–an Internet search.

If you’re someone who thinks that usage equals acceptance in language (and therefore believes that any noun that’s used as a verb instantly becomes a verb), then why would you google it on youtube instead of just youtubing it?

This is a good example of why some people prefer that traditional rules be followed. It’s actually simpler than sorting through arbitrary standards. Or, should I say It’s actually simpler than arbitrarying it?

–Paul

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4 Responses to Googled It on Youtube

  1. g says:

    Once again you are completely wrong. You have confused your opinion and desires for fact. You need to understand that grammar and word usage are not immutable laws, but rather evolving constructs.

    You are right that usage does not equal acceptance, but acceptance does equal acceptance. And that doesn’t mean acceptance by you alone, but rather acceptance by the general public who speak the language. Or do you not believe in American English? Do you still use “thou” and “thine?” Have you accepted the word “internet” at all, or do you still disregard it as merely a portmanteau?

    Yes, google is in fact a verb in common usage, and it is making its way into dictionaries. Although you are correct that it began as a specific reference to internet searches through Google, its common usage (and soon its definitive usage) has expanded to include all internet searches due to the company’s dominance in the field. Do you still object to the generic use of the term “kleenex?” If you do, you’re basically alone.

    As Google searches have become integral to daily life, and as many web pages such as Youtube use the Google search engine to run their site searches, it is not unreasonable to expect the definition of “google” to continue to evolve. Not only will it mean any search on the internet, but it will likely expand to mean any sort of comprehensive search on- or offline.

    Get with the times, and by times I mean the last 250 years of American English.

    • languageandgrammar says:

      Completely wrong again? I didn’t even know I had been wrong a first time…

      You’re entitled to your opinion, and I understand that many people will agree with you. If you want to use the name of a company as a common verb, it’s your choice.

      This post is as much about logic as acceptance, and there is no logic for using a brand name as a common word. Yes, oddly enough, I don’t call every tissue a Kleenex because every tissue is not a Kleenex. I also don’t call every athletic shoe a Kedd as some people have been known to do. I would feel kind of silly walking into a store and saying, “Can you show me where the Scott’s Kleenex’s are?” or “I want a pair of Nike Kedds.” You may not, and I don’t object to your right to do that, but believe me, I’m not alone in not calling every tissue a Kleenex.

      Words like thine and thee have been eliminated over the course of generations–a gradual evolution of language. That’s a completely different process than instant additions to a language (such as Goolgle as a verb). These are not evolutionary but, more or less, instantaneous. And whether you like it or not–and whether you agree or not–many people don’t consider an instant usage change to be an acceptable way to create new words. Slapping it into a dictionary doesn’t immediately validate it for everyone, and how could it? Every dictionary doesn’t put the same new entries in at the same time, so at what time is it acceptable–when it’s in one dictionary or all? Is it a word for me if it’s in the dictionary on my desk, but it’s not a word for you if it’s not in the dictionary you use?

      You will never hear me say that there shouldn’t be new words for new things, such as the Internet since we need new words for new things. You will not hear me saying that we need to go back to thee and thou, either, because these words have clearly fallen out of usage through a normal language evolutionary process.

      You will, however, be able to read posts here mocking language changes of an instant, arbitrary (and illogical) nature–if you want to read them.

      –Paul

  2. TCO says:

    Is it wrong to call it “googling” when I do use Google as my search engine? And lower or uppercase?

    • languageandgrammar says:

      Thanks for the question. “Googling” is still a verb, so it would be just as incorrect as “I’ll Google it” because you’d still be using a noun (the company name Google) incorrectly as a verb. “Googling” is just the present participle form of the verb.

      Sherry

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