Those of us who have been avoiding the use of transitive verbs because we thought they were argumentative or prejudicial can now rest easy. According to Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley, they are not. He rendered his decision earlier this week, saying, “There is nothing inherently argumentative or prejudicial about transitive verbs.” This settles that long-standing linguistic controversy for good. If the Court decides it, it must be right. Right?
The battle took place in a suit brought by groups that oppose the ballot title of California’s upcoming Proposition 8, which reads, “Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.” Proponents of Proposition 8 want the verb changed on the ballot to read, “Limit on Marriage.” Judge Frawley called this “useless nominalization.”
Who would guess that the Courts would get involved in linguistic matters like transitive verbs and nominalization? Maybe we could call on Judge Frawley for his legal ruling on other language controversies, like who versus whom or supplementary which or, gasp, the split infinitive.