Millennial-Speak

As we’ve mentioned before, language changes over time. In the 21st century, the millennials are taking their turn at making those changes. Now, we’re not going to jump on the millennial-bashing wagon; some of our best friends are millennials. We can’t help but be slightly dismayed by some of the changes they’re making to our mother tongue, but we will do our best to adapt and flow.

Here are just a couple of the things we’ve noticed:

1) They like the simple past tense, and they’re going to use it even when the past perfect tense is called for. Thus, instead of saying “I have sung in the choir many times,” they will say either “I sang in the choir many times” or even “I have sang in the choir many times.” For those of us who were brought up learning the “sing, sang, sung” verb declension, this causes a wee tightening of the facial muscles. Another example we hear a lot has to do with the verb “drink”: Millennials seem to believe that the word “drunk” can be used only as a noun or an adjective—not as a verb. Thus, on the rare occasion that we do hear them utter the past perfect, it might be in the construction “I have drank six glasses of water today.” Again, we shudder; but we can only assume that this is the wave of the future, upon which we will soon be drunk.

2) They don’t say that a theory is based on an idea, or that a conclusion is based on the available data; they say instead that the former is “based off” the latter. Why has this change come about? We don’t know, but again, we recognize the future when we see it.

A good editor will be aware of the times and of her or his audience and will edit accordingly, tight facial muscles or no.

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