Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Put your boots on before you summit.

Sometimes nouns are also verbs. It's funny when that happens and you don't know it. That happened to me today. I was on Google News and saw the headline "Winnipegger summits Everest despite breathing problems". Aha, I thought, I've spotted yet another mistake! (Taking pleasure in finding others' mistakes, even when you don't point them out, is usually a sign that it's been an unproductive day.) But instead of feeling smug and smiling, I went on over to dictionary.com and did a search for "summit". Dictionary says: it's a noun and a verb. My smugness faded away but my smile remained. I'd learned a new word. Still, the neat thing about this discovery (one day I will summit the vocabulary) is how my attitude to the news story changed. I actually read it. When I thought "summit" was only a noun, I didn't want to click on the link. I mean, why reward such stupidity? And this was despite that whether "summit" was or was not a verb, I knew exactly what the headline meant. In fact, whatever the dictionary happened to say the writer had already told me what he wanted to tell me. The only thing that he had possibly broken was a rule, which is merely a convention. Thus, I learned two lessons. One, before declaring anyone wrong, even quietly and to yourself, take the time to check. The internet is quite good at that. Two, refrain from knotting your panties over broken rules.