“Gifted”: Another Piece of Baleful Jargon

And this morning from a local news station we have this:

The 200 pound metal cross was gifted to the church when it was built 15 years ago.

Ugh, ugh, ugh, and UGH! Please don’t do that.

The word gift is what is called a “noun.” A noun is a word that denotes a person, a place, or a thing. In this case, the thing we’re talking about was a noun: in means the cross-shaped metal object that someone gave a local church some 15 y ears ago. Flipping that term over and forcing it to act as a verb (“to gift”) is simply grating. Obnoxious. Makes the writer sound like a ninny.

The verb form of the word gift is to give. Its past tense is gave and its past participle (a form you can use in this descrlptive context) is given:

She gave the cross to the church.
The cross was given to the church.

NOT the idiotic-sounding “was gifted to the church.”

“Gifted” can be used in an adjectival sense when referring to people — especially children — who have some special talent or extra smarts.

Johnny is a gifted child.
Jeanine is a gifted mathematician.

In this context, it’s an adjective (what kind of child? a gifted child). It is not a verb distorted to make like it’s the passive voice, as in “was gifted to the church.”

Note, in passing, two other annoyances in the newswriter’s sentence:

When you run two words (or a number and a word) together to form an adjective, they’re hyphenated. 200 + pound, meaning “something that weighs 200 pounds,” is 200-pound.

When you use a pronoun, you should be very clear about what the pronoun refers to. “It” is a pronoun that refers to…something. Was the cross built 15 years ago? Or was the church built 15 years ago?

It doesn’t take a special gift to figure this stuff out. Soooo…please stop doing that.

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