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Joined: December 31, 2010  (email not validated)
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To Obligate is a backformation or re-verbing of the original verb "to Oblige".
There are other examples like "To Orientate/To Orient".

Due to common usage the backformed verbs are considered acceptable.

In a nutshell, they took a bunch of words that ended in "tion" and made a verb out of them, usually by adding "tate" to the end. In some cases a shorter form of the verb already existed, so they formed an unnecessary verb that was longer than the original.

Orient - Orientat ion - Orient ate
Oblige - Obligat ion - Oblig ate

Chris December 31, 2010, 4:18pm

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The 'ated' words are a back formation or re-verbing of words that ended in tion. Some examples include orientate and obligate.

Despite the fact that verbs such as 'to orient" and "to oblige" already existed, there are many examples of words that end in 'tion' that have been backformed into verbs by removing tion and adding tate.

This resulted in 'orientate' when the original and more correct verb is "to orient". To orient was to turn a map so that the map pointed towards the Orient. Orientate is a re-verb that people assume is correct due to common usage.

Obligation thus became 'to obligate' despite the fact that the original verb was 'to oblige'. Obligate has fallen into common use, especially in the US, and a distinction between the two has grown out of either a need for distinction, or the seperation of regions where one or the other is used exclusively.


Chris December 31, 2010, 4:13pm

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