language evolves

Ready for a rant? Good.

Here goes. Language evolves. Get over it.

Too vague? Gotcha. Check out this clip from The Big Bang Theory. (The video quality isn’t great, but it’ll do.)

Sheldon makes the point that the word “nauseous” is often used in place of the word “nauseated,” which would technically be grammatically correct. But I disagree with Sheldon in two ways.

First, while “nauseous” may have originally meant “disgusting or loathsome,” confirms Leonard’s use of the word. Suck on that, Sheldon.

Second, the original meaning of the word doesn’t matter.

Language isn’t static. It never has been. Over time, it morphs and changes. What a word meant 50 years ago is irrelevant today. What matters is how words are used now.

There are a smattering of words out there people frequently misuse. So much so that their meaning has been adjusted in the common vernacular. As an artist, you can pick fights about those words, correcting people when they break from traditional definitions, or you can roll with evolution.

If you decide to be a grammar Nazi, that’s exactly how you’ll be seen. Even writers hate overly nitpicky grammar snobs.

Should you follow grammatical rules? Absolutely. A writer who doesn’t will come across as amateurish and lazy.

But remember that language changes over time. If you can’t change with it, you’ll quickly become irrelevant.

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