Submitted by catherinecanadian on February 18, 2009

quality-control or quality control

Wondering a) if “quality-control” is a verb b) if it is, should the hyphen be used or not - two instances are found on the “About” page of this website - one with, one without:

“As long as we quality-control questions, we should not have to quality control comments.”

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I don't believe "quality control" can be used as a verb. A hyphen would be used to turn a noun phrase into an adjectival phrase. For instance you could say, "We performed quality control on these widgets. They are quality-controlled widgets."

I believe the statement you quoted above should say, "As long as we perform quality control on questions, we should not have to perform it on comments."

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Agree yello.cape.cod.

This is a recent "ailment" that seems to have struck the business world in its pursuit of English shorthand. I see this attempt at making nouns into verbs with increasing frequency in the workplace.

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I've been having this problem with the word text. While many people use it as a verb, I don't.
I'm not sure why it's acceptable to use "email" and "phone" as verbs, but one would never say "I lettered my mom last week."
Opinions on "text" as a verb, anyone?

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English has a long history of verbification, and I think that words thus metamorphosed are typically complained about for a while. Dictionary.com dates "verbification" to 1805; this has been going on for some time. I think nothing of buttering my bread, but at one point, I'm sure I would have only spread butter on it.

Initially, I'm uncomfortable with this one, but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. However, it is also a very broad and unspecific term, probably only suitable for some sort of conceptual summary. I could see a sales brochure saying, "We quality-control our widgets." Also, at times, it might be important to distinguish "to quality-control" from "to control." Consider a pharmaceutical company that needs to control (secure) an opiate-based pain killer in production, but also has to quality-control (keep mice and hair out of) it. In these cases I would use it as a hyphenate. For more detailed communications, I think something more specific is better:

"Did you measure the pills to make sure they are the right size, and look to see if there are any hairs in them?" rather than, "Did you quality-control the pills?"

EGKG: I stay away from text as a verb, but probably just because I'm old and grumpy and don't send 4,000 text messages per month. And "he texts" is difficult to pronounce.

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