Nouns be verbin’

If that headline means nothing to you then perhaps you do not have a 22 year old student on your (family) books. 

English is continually evolving and when the aforementioned student and daughter was asked (by WhatsApp but other platforms are available) post  a minor skiing incident “how is your knee?”. She replied: “Knee is kneeing.” 

My wife was suitably unimpressed but she is a teacher who still rails about Sky Sports reporters using the present tense to recount things that happened in the past. “He runs down the wing, Jeff, plays it in, and E I Addio heads it home.”  You get the picture. (Private Eye gets a credit for E I Addio). 

I’m as avid a scholar of the classics as the next person but have a much more fluid attitude to language. The point is I knew what my daughter meant. The knee is doing what is expected of it in the current moment. 

So where does this go next? “How’s the film?” 

“It’s filming.” 

“How’s the flat?”

“Flat is flatting.”  Nothing going on to mention. 

This becomes interesting if companies and brands try to begin to use this technique – you refer to brands can they become words in and off themselves. (Like hoover did). 

“How’s your glass of Margaux?”


There is room of course for misunderstanding and that is a consideration. 

“How’s your new phone?” 

“Phone is phoning”. 

“Oh, who?”

Clearly it is not universally applicable. Trains may or may not be training. 

It will depend on syllables and sense and there are undoubtedly more examples but if we see this particular trend creeping into print then it wasn’t me, okay? I’m just meing. 

Matt Smith is chief content officer at WHJE