Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For A Total Purchase Of

Hi everyone! No, I haven't been in Boracay this whole time. I got back to Manila Friday night and immediately started work Saturday. I've been working ever since and I've been so exhausted! Today is my first kind of free day. Do you know the feeling when you sometimes need a vacation from your vacation?

When I got back, I saw a flyer from my credit card company advertising freebies if you made a "cumulative spend of" a certain amount. Here are some samples: "For a cumulative spend of P5,000 FREE P500 Nike Gift Cheque" and "For a cumulative spend of P2,000, get P300 REBATE on regular-priced items." Now, where, may I ask, is this "cumulative spend" coming from?

I was really irritated while reading the flyer. In the first place, "spend" is not a noun. It's a verb! We don't say "spend" when we talk about the total amount we spent shopping. We use "spend" when we talk about the act of using up something: "I spend P500 on my monthly cellphone bill" or "I spend some time with my mom everyday." We don't do "a cumulative spend" on anything!

I think the ad company that designed the flyer was trying to be creative and tried to use words that would make their flyer distinct from the rest. Still, that is no excuse to mangle the English language! I do work hard to teach correct English; it irks me to know that people are just taking liberties to change it without any good reason.

So, why don't we just stick to the more traditional expressions of "For a total purchase of P5,000, get a P500 gift cheque" or "For a cumulative expense of P2,000, get a discount card!"
After all, "purchase" and "expense" are nouns that mean the totality of what we spent on.

One final word, I'm not against ad companies or writers inventing words or using words in new ways. This is just part of the creative process and the growth of English. Still, I think there's a reasonable need to change the language within the parameters of what the language is now. In other words, don't break cardinal rules such as the differences between nouns and verbs.

That's all for today! Don't spend too much!

1 comment:

Manny said...

Hello Ma'am,

Could these sentences be grammatically correct?

'When you spend £100 accumulatively, you can get a £10 gift vaucher.'

'For a total cumulative spending of £100, get a discount card.'