23 October 2015

Apparently "commentate" is a verb

During the recent political debates, my wife and I were musing about whether "commentate" was a verb.  "Commentators" are abundant in politics (and in sports), but we thought "commentate" would be a ridiculously elaborate form of "comment" in the way that "to orientate" is misused for the verb "to orient."

But  "commentate" does exist.  The link goes to the online Wiktionary; the hard-copy dictionaries in our house vary in this regard.  Some don't list it, others cite is as "rare."  (I do have the sense that if/when used, "commentate" would imply a simultaneous response to an activity - sporting event, news item - as opposed to "comment," which might refer to a long-ago event.)

I know there are readers out there who are proofreaders or have editorial experience and may have a well-thumbed Strunk and White on the bookshelf.  Please feel free to commentate.


  1. I Love taters. All kinds of taters like Peruvian Fingerling, Russian Banana, Larette and Austrian Crescent. Heck, I even like Russet and Yukon Gold and all the other common taters.

  2. Hi,
    I'm in the UK and would understand "are you going to commentate on the match?" as a blow-by-blow account while the match is on vs. "are you going to comment on the match?" as a one-off statement, quite possibly after the match.
    cheers another phil

  3. Orientate is also perfectly fine.

    1. "Although it is standard in British English “orientate” is widely considered an error in the US, with simple “orient” being preferred.

      The same pattern applies to “disorientate” vs. “disorient.”


  4. When you use the term is it widely understood? I would say it is. Therefore it is a word. It has been used since the 1930's. It is a word. As is 'orientate' Otherwise we would say that "orient" means to arrange facing east and not in any other direction as that is the original definition.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...