Google: Verb or Noun?

I was just thinking of a conversation that I had with my sister recently. I had asked her what the weather forecast was for the week (it’s good to at least try to prepare and plan ahead!) and she said she would “google it.” To me, her choice of wording was interesting. About a decade ago, people only used the internet search engine “Google” as a noun (as in, “I will look it up on Google”). Nowadays, it is accepted to say “I’ll google it” using the word ‘google’ as a verb, not only as a noun. I wanted to find out more about this phenomenon, so I “googled” it. 🙂

In my search, I came across an article titled Is English Changing? (I already knew the answer to that question, even before I read the rest of the article. The answer is YES.) According to the article, language constantly changes and grows with the times and adapts to society. An example of this can be seen with the word “texting” and with the concept of texting. The author explains that texting is an abbreviated version of the term “text messaging” and is (now) used both as a noun (the message, as in “I just got a text”) and a verb (the process, as in “I’ll text you the information right now”). The changes in language can be very subtle and slow so it can be hard to recognize them from year to year. Perhaps that is the reason it took me a while to notice the shift in the use of the word “google!” 🙂

As the article states, “as long as the needs of language users continue to change, so will the language.” With new products and technology, new words are needed to relate to them. For instance, the words ‘cell phone’, ‘internet’, ‘television’, ‘plastic’ were more recent inventions and became words used in everyday discourse. We propel language change by using new and emerging terms.

I enjoyed reading this article and liked the way the author summed up the article, and I would like to end this post in the same way she did: “Language will never stop changing; it will continue to respond to the needs of the people who use it. So the next time you hear a new phrase that grates on your ears, remember that like everything else in nature, the English language is a work in progress.”

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Syelle directed me to a Ted Talk that addresses this topic and similar subjects, so if you are interested in learning more about the evolution of words and their usage (like I am!), you can check it out!

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One thought on “Google: Verb or Noun?

  1. Great post! As I was reading it I thought about the word “selfie” immediately as it gets very popular now! New generation of people often use it to express it when they’d like to take a self-portrait of themselves, then it quickly becomes a trend when people thought it sounds fashionable and cool. I believe that the word did not come out until recently and it’s not even considered as a word! Due to that it does not follow the English rule as a grammatically correct word (they sound kind of informal, correct me if I’m wrong), but we created our own grammar. As the new technology arises, the majority of people are getting to use cell phones to take photos of themselves and with friends because of the front camera in different phones, so then our language society alternates every once in a while based on the new generations and how they look at the world differently.
    Also, many other words ending in “-ie” as well, such as “bestie”, “doggie”, “birdie”, etc… It sounds cute in somewhat way.

    Thanks for bringing this up!
    —Sarah Feng

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