Usage and Grammar

Q. I am now happily retired from a career in estate planning. Over the years, both clients and other practitioners have consistently used the word gift as a verb, as in “I want to gift my house to my daughter.” This seems awfully stilted. Is there something wrong with the word give?
Q. A number of my friends and colleagues now use invite as a noun, as in “send him an invite.” I think it’s pretty lazy usage when the perfectly good word invitation is available. Am I just an old crank who doesn’t like change?

A. In both cases, the usages you frown on have been around for centuries, according to Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary. Language fluctuates; words come in and out of favor; regionalisms spread quickly. When a wording strikes you as strange or trendy, take a moment to investigate its credentials; even if you choose not to adopt the usage yourself, maybe it will help you be more accepting when others use it.