Addison Bragg BRAGG ABOUT BILLINGS
Almost everyone has heard about it being more blessed to give than to receive, but in today's speech a specific caveat has been included in the time-worn saying.
There can be no money or other consideration of value involved in the act. The gift, more specifically, can be money, an item of value or none at all, it can be a service, the result of a certain talent or skill or even time itself.
But look what has happened to that simple noun in today's language.
How often is the expression heard about someone being given something "as a gift"? Gifts for special occasions such as Christmas, an anniversary, birthday or wedding may be identified by the occasion but nothing more.
After all, whoever heard of anyone being given a gift as a Christmas gift?
In topping off what appears to be a potential mudslide of redundancies, we now have merchandisers, commercial ventures and who knows what else along with the advertisers and direct mailers who have taken up the ploy of putting together skewed grammar and foggy syntax.
We are receiving offers of "free" for which, we are informed by a patronizing copywriter, no charge will be made, a truly pleasant thought indeed.
Looking at it all from the big picture point of view, I confess to a warm, fuzzy feeling about what luck is coming my way. I don't think I could want anything more to make my day than finding in my mail the opportunity to be given something at no charge and for which I will pay nothing.
Perhaps giving is the more blessed of the two, but sometimes my direct mailers indicate receiving is beginning to nose up here in the pack.
But the thought of being given a gift for which I do not have to pay still sticks in my linguistic craw. Perhaps it's because I keep thinking of that old Christmas thing about how it's not the gift that counts; it's the spirit in which it is given.
I can feel comfortable with that, but why must I be told it's a free gift and why must I compound the grammatical felony by telling others that it was given to me as a gift?
Addison Bragg can be reached at email@example.com.