Fight for your right to use party as a noun

Fight for your right to use party as a noun
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I’ve been a stickler about words for a long time now. In the mid-1980s, around the time I finished my journalism degree and got my first job, I disliked a song called “Fight for your right to party” by The Beastie Boys. I never liked the use of “to party” as a verb.

In my school days, the kids who “partied” were the dangerous kids. I, on the other hand, had orchestra rehearsal every morning of high school — first period. (That was enough danger!)

I would have a party once in a while. I would even, wonder of wonders, get invited to parties. But in my world, growing up, the word “party” was always a noun.

Maybe that’s why “to party” as a verb seems so wrong to me — but even without the memory of those unknown “partiers” (whose names I never knew anyway), I think I’d still be a stickler about the word.

Using words well yields tremendous variety. Using them poorly — knowing a few words and using them willy-nilly — can make a native English speaker sound like someone just beginning to pick up a foreign language.

So let’s not lose a word by making it try to contain too much, the way George Orwell described Newspeak in his masterpiece, “1984.” (That’s the most powerful book I’ve read all year. Here’s my post about it .)

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Filed under: Expressions


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  • I love this headline! What a great post!

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thank you for both comments. The headline struck me as something that the people who need it most might find the fastest.

  • I agree, especially about the richness of vocabulary use. But maybe it's because I am not a huge fan of parties?

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Thanks, Kathy. I'm not such a fan, either -- maybe because at so many parties, it's hard to talk and be heard!

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