Monday, August 14, 2006

Parts of Speech

As the child of a long-term Xerox Senior Systems Analyst, who always insisted that we should never use the verb "xerox" and constantly corrected us by rephrasing our sentences with "make a xerographic copy" instead, I have to say I laughed out loud about this story in the Independent: "To google or not to google: it's a legal question." Apparently the search engine giant is now worried about losing its trademark, particularly since the word "google" appears as a verb in the OED and Webster's dictionaries. Thus, they've been sending out a raft of legal letters warning media organizations about possible litigious consequences for sloppy, colloquial usage that abuses their corporate brand name. (See "Google goes from Web to Webster's" for the prehistory.)

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