Let’s perpetrate peace

If you dislike verbs that have both cognitive denotations and normative connotations, what can you do about them? One answer: resist by misusing them.

Today I read that “Hector has leveraged his academic expertise to foment democracy and justice in Latin America”.

This could be a model of resistance to subliminal verbing. If you want our shared stock of verbs to be freely available for use in expressing their cognitive meanings without the associated normative connotative baggage, perhaps one way to contribute to that goal is resistive verbing, making efforts to spice your writing with phrases such as:

  • foment democracy
  • perpetrate peace
  • aggravate justice
  • mitigate benefit
  • relieve pleasure
  • wreak efficiency
  • improve homicide
  • bestow poverty

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