"Author" as a verb - yea or nay?

I once read a quip that if books are “authored,” then one may have likewise “readered” many good books. I personally dislike using the word as a verb, since it seems like a faux-intellectual substitution for the perfectly serviceable “write.”

However, Merriam Webster and a Google search indicate I may be hopelessly prescriptivist in my beliefs, and perhaps I need to acknowledge that it’s a legitimate verb.

Any guidance?

Sounds like you’re being thoroughly prescriptive - Etymonline says you’re about 400 years late with your objection.

“Written” is different from “Authored” though (subtley.) The only reason there isn’t a “Readered” is for the same reason there isn’t a “Writered”, in that the words “Critiqued” and “Reviewed” were used instead to specify professional skill involved in the reading.

It’s a legitimate word, but I’m not a fan of it; it seems affected and precious. But then, “penned” makes me physically cringe.

Does that mean you’d rather say that a reader reads books and an author auths them?

  1. As indicated, “author” as a verb dates from 1596.
  2. Why can’t there be two words that mean the same thing? Are synonyms so objectionable?

Ditto. And ditto.

This is a usage heavily dependent on context. Most of the time a simple “wrote” is the best choice.

But take a look at some real-life examples found by Googling on “authored.”

“Pen authored another happy ending”

This is newspaper-speak, an almost separate language. But saying that the bullpen wrote another happy ending doesn’t make any better sense.

“Bills Authored/Joint Authored by Representative Uresti”

Rep. Uresti is putting his name onto bills that were probably not written by him in the normal sense of written.

“Current and former GTRI researchers have authored and/or edited many science, technology and research books and chapters of larger publications. This bibliography offers a sample of that output.”

Again, authored is used here to intensify the sense of a number of writers jointly working on a project.

“Book Co-Authored by Former Hamilton President Eugene Tobin Wins …”

Co-authored is undoubtedly the most accepted form of the verb. Again, more than one writer is postulated. Co-written could be used, but it has a less formal connotation. Serious books are co-authored; lighter works are co-written. I don’t see this as necessarily pretentious, but a subtle distinction.

Context, as I’m fond of saying, is everything.

I use “authoring” only in certain technical contexts: for example, “to author a DVD” meaning “to bring together all the materials for the DVD, transcode and combine them into a single file, then write that to disc”.

I am unwilling to author an opinion on the subject of using nouns as verbs.

But that’s what SDMBing is all about.

Thanks all. I was helping my husband with a presentation for work. If you have any familiarity with the jargon that crops up in places like IBM, perhaps you’ll understand my initial reaction.

It’s also nice to know that, correctness aside, there are some other people who dislike the use. It’s like “fellowship” as a verb or “gracefulness” instead of “grace.” They’re real words, but they still bug me.

I’m glad we were able to level set here. If you have any other questions let’s take them offline. Don’t send me a lot of text, just bulletize it or I’ll have to nonconcur. If I don’t respond I’m probably in a crit-sit, so send someone over to push the blue button.

Let’s run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it. :eek:

Yes. To author a work is to receive credit as one of several creators, even though one may not have responsible for the actual composition. If I am a physics teacher at a university, and two of my research assistants and I collaborate on research which I oversee and together produce a monograph on the subject, I may be listed as author even though the RAs did the actual writing.

I’d only use it in an academic context, though. I wouldn’t say I authored this post, or my novel; I wrote them.

I have a lot of deliverables on my plate right now; but let’s poll the committee and see if a consensus emerges re: your thoughts on the branding of “author.”

“Verbing weirds language.” – Bill Waterson

Not a big fan of “author” as a verb, but I don’t bleed from the eyes when I read it, either.