May 22, 2007

The categorical imperative.

Dear Business World,

When one says that a company grows, one is using an intransitive verb. There is a transitive verb "to grow" as well, but for most of the history of the English language until this decade, we were all quite clearly agreed that it could be applied only to plants and fungus. Things which begin as seeds or spores and increase their size and complexity via a literal (not metaphorical) system of roots and stems can be transitively grown. Even the most energetic and determined job candidates cannot pull off the task of growing your company, unless you mean that you want them to bury your company in the dirt and water it until it brings forth leaves.

The word you are looking for is "expand". Or perhaps "cause to grow". Not just grow.

Love, Academia

Posted by dianna at May 22, 2007 09:29 AM

Ah, so then what do you make of the time-honored adage, "Hey fucktard, grow a brain"? Legitimate or not?

Posted by: katie at May 22, 2007 12:04 PM

Wait, is that not supposed to suggest that people take up neurogardening and bring up a fine crop of cerebellums in their backyard?

Posted by: Dianna at May 22, 2007 01:36 PM

Couldn't it be a dead metaphor?

Posted by: MoltenBoron at May 22, 2007 04:50 PM


Posted by: Dianna at May 22, 2007 07:09 PM

Rather than pretending to be smart, I will just say that I learned about Dead Metaphors 2 minutes before posting that, from Wikipedia. They're when some common term started out as a metaphor but has become so overused that people forget the other half of the comparison. The examples Wikipedia give are "foot of the hill," "eye of the needle," and such like.

So maybe, in the mists of time, some Ur-Marketer told a troglodytic board meeting that he hoped to make their cave painting business grow like a mighty oak, and eventually we reached the point today where everyone's forgotten that it's supposed to be a metaphor.

Which isn't to say it's not dumb.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at May 22, 2007 08:20 PM

I love Ur-marketing! But wouldn't the statement made by the Ur-Marketer simply have been: "Buy."?

I just said that to make me look smart too, because I hadn't heard the term "dead metaphors" either. I like that the last example they give is "son of a gun". I didn't actually know what that came from, and I bet a lot of guys who use it don't either. Ah, hence "dead metaphor." OK, OK, I'm all caught up now.

Posted by: katie at May 22, 2007 09:40 PM

I think the statement made by the Ur-marketer would have been, "Buy this ziggurat, look at that construction, in five thousand years all else will be as dust and this baby will still be going strong! They don't make 'em like this anymore! Genuine original, guaranteed!"

Posted by: Dianna at May 23, 2007 08:31 AM


Posted by: MoltenBoron at May 23, 2007 04:58 PM

I have friends who work for Google, Facebook, and other techie companies, and they commit horrible blasphemy by using "trend" as a transitive and intransitive verb.

"The new interface is trending well."

and also

"On Monday we'll trend the updated interface with the focus group."

I die thousands and thousands of times.

Posted by: hchristianblood at May 27, 2007 02:26 PM