Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Snark As A Verb?


It's happened again -- a writer in one of my classes uses snark as a verb  -- as in, "Oh, I'm sure you do," she snarked, and I cringe as if someone had run a fingernail down a blackboard.  

Merriam Webster says that snark (used as a noun to mean an irreverent sarcasm) first came into use (as a noun) in 1999. (Yes, I know about Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" and I'm not sure there's any connection.)


Spell check seems to acknowledge snarky but no other iterations of snark. Still, an online search reveals several examples of snark as a verb. 

I still hate it.

I know, I know, English is a living, evolving language and I'm old enough to remember actual blackboards and chalk and am therefore probably more set in my grammatical preferences.  

In my opinion, snark et al are still a bit slangy and not appropriate for all uses. Dialogue? Sure, go at it. Or if the voice the writer is cultivating is a slangy one, then fine. But, in general narration? 


What do you think? Do you use snark in speech or writing? Do you use it as a verb? (I won't judge, I promise.) I want to hear some other opinions.)

By the way, I have a similar reaction to the use of husk as a verb meaning to speak in a husky tone. "Oh, Lord Errol," she husked, "my maidenhead is not for sale."

(Though I did use it myself once -- but it was in a humorous/satiric /one might even say, snarky piece.)


4 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

I think I can live with snark but not husk, not in that way.

I think I have thought 'snark' a few times lately but didn't voice it. Now I don't know how I thought it. Verb? I don't know.

KarenB said...

Husk just sounds wrong. I think of husking corn and it throws me out of the narrative. Snark as a verb is less bothersome, probably because we are a rather snarky family and so have used it as a verb.

A word I heard an aspiring politician use recently which just make me cringe was "incent," the back formation from incentive. The dictionary says it has been in use since mid-1900's but I'm not ready for it!

Susan said...

I am always irritated by the use of "read" , referring to written efforts.........."Its a wonderful read". The substitution of "invite" for "invitation" is also a fingernails on the blackboard expression. I do realize my "fogey-ness" and refrain from commenting on the usage of such irritants by others!

Jim Egerton said...

I don't use snark or husk in any shape form or fashion. If I did it would be in the meaning of husking corn. Guess I'm just not wordy enough.