Poe did it. Shakespeare did, too, and we let them. Now it's rappers, techies and teenagers who are on the cutting edge. They invent terms or use them in new ways and the rest of us pick it up, trying to be cool even though we're way past junior high. I've learned to say "He texted me" but he'd better not, because I'd have no idea what to do if he did.

We need some new words that no one is working on, though. As a writer, I find phrases that are outdated, but there isn't a good replacement term yet. For example, we don't *dial* a phone number anymore. I've seen *punched in* but that sounds violent and cumbersome as well. What describes reality? "She poked the number"? "He stabbed the keypad"? How about "She digited him"?

Few people roll down a car window anymore, either. That little crank is missing. So do we "button" down the window? "power" it down? How about "He whirred the car window away"?

Many things we talk about are brand names, and while I don't have a big problem with that, a writer has to choose between branding and sounding artificial. "She TiVoed the movie" is easier than "She recorded the show in order to watch it later." LIkewise "I Googled her" is easily understood and quicker than "I used a popular search engine to find out more about her."

It's the great thing about English, though. We've never been shy about inventing words or even stealing the best term for something and making it our own. That's why we have more words than any other language, why we have idioms enough to make ESL students go crazy. But it's also why we have such a wealth of options for writers: shades of meaning, nuances of character, and passing fads that identify an era spot on.

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