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Nouns in the Wintering of Our Discontent

Nouns in the Wintering of Our Discontent

Riley Dugan, Ric Sweeney and James Kellaris

magnetic words

Kevin, a recent graduate of Anywhere University’s sales certificate program, walked into a business development meeting. 

When a discussion of negotiation techniques began, Kevin eagerly related a recent encounter with a client: “I opened the meet with Jim at the Children’s Hospital by dialoguing about where to summer this year. I wanted to beach-out in Hilton Head, but my wife argued we should holiday in the Caribbean. I championed my preference and positioned that we could attend the charity golf tournament to which we got an invite, and perhaps get a golf ball signatured by Arnold Palmer. I’m actioning my successful negotiation by booking our flights and hotel tonight!”


To the chagrin of those who revere language, it should be evident that Kevin has fallen into a practice that has become popular in some marketing circles, i.e., using nouns as verbs and verbs as nouns—a phenomenon known as “verbing.”


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Riley Dugan is an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Dayton. He is actively involved with the Fiore Talerico Center for Professional Selling at the University of Dayton. His research concerns personal selling, sales management, and issues in sales and marketing education.

Ric Sweeney is an associate professor-educator at the University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business, and is the immediate past chairman of the American Marketing Association’s Board of Directors.

James Kellaris is the James S. Womack/Gemini Corporation Professor of Signage and Visual Marketing at the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business.