Bill Bennett

Bill Bennett

Google as a verb

Google is one of a rare breed of companies that has moved into everyday language as a verb.

There are language purists who argue against turning nouns into verbs.

Don’t worry. It’s fine to “google something” online. People have “hoovered carpets” for years.

Note the lower case G and H.

Most of the time Google and Hoover are proper nouns requiring a capital.

There’s no such thing as a proper verb, so why should Google or Hoover take a capital when they are used as verbs?

Years ago when I was starting out as a journalist there was a regular supplement in the UK Press Gazette which argued exactly that: a company name used as a verb needs a capital.

I wasn’t convinced then. I’m not convinced now.