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Monday, February 8, 2010

A Future Without -Ed — Closer Than You Think

Imagine a future without "-ed." Where the simple past tense is discarded.

Where canned pop vanishes from supermarket shelves--only to be replaced by "can pop." Bottled drinks suddenly become "bottle drinks"--and iced tea permanently morphs into (shudder) "ice tea."

It's happening, folks. Just look at popped corn, iced cream and waxed paper. All were once perfectly servicable handles. Where are they now?

Sure you can go to Wal-Mart and buy a "box set" of CD's, but just try to find a boxed one.

Corned beef runs the risk of becoming "corn beef," "scramble" eggs may soon become the norm, and for many folks everything is "cut and dry," but never dried.

Personally, the saddest example came last night as I watched MSNBC, completely unprepared for a news ticker that announced, "Mix reaction to buy-American rule." Huh?

This orthographic tragedy is a blight on sensitive eyes and ears, but shows little sign of abating.

Where will it all end?

Certainly, it's enough to make a person long for a more formal and civilized past: a time when chicken was roasted, corn was creamed, and "-ed" got the respect it deserved.


  1. I have never noticed that before, but its very true. I'm only 24, but as long as I can remember it was roast beef. In reality, it is a slice of roasted beef.

    I like your ideas, the implication might be that our language is changing. The same way technology is changing. The world has been a fast paced place for a long time. So fast that our words are becoming shorter, and formalities are becoming a thing of the past..

  2. Thanks for weighing in on this, DS. I've noticed this trend accelerating over the last few years.

    None of us still talk like King James and it's right and natural that language should evolve.

    But when you first hear some of these, they're so jarring. The first time I saw "box set" in a Future Shop flyer I did a double take.

    Of course, we all adapt to the point where the changes are forgotten. When they're pointed out to us, we think the old forms are quaint.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Please say hi to Mike at BU for me.