Words and Phrases that Aren’t Common in English (yet)

As an English teacher, I am often struck by non-native usage of inventive, effective expressions that would not generally be recognized as ‘correct English’.  Rather than dismiss these, I embrace them and say it’s OK to intentionally expand the hallowed ground of what is considered acceptable.

The phrase that inspired this post comes from the (non-public) EGL149 Grafitti Wall. It is “Unnecessary Emotion Consumption”.  As soon as I saw it, I knew exactly what my student meant and that I liked the sound of that phrase in my head. Of course, my native speaker instinct was to suggest a modification to “Unnecessary Emotional Consumption”. In fact, my grammar checker agrees as I type this.

Upon searching for the term, I discovered that there are a few dozen results for “Unnecessary Emotional Consumption”, but none for “Unnecessary Emotion Consumption”. As I thought about it, I decided that emotion should be a noun here.  It’s the star of the phrase and should be more of an anchor than a modifier. There are, after all, 329,000+ results for “Unnecessary Energy Consumption” and only one for “Unnecessary Energetic Consumption”.  If it’s good enough to describe what ails the planet, it’s good enough to describe what can ail us as individuals.  My heartfelt congratulations to the student (who shall remain anonymous for now) on contributing a new meaningful phrase to the English language. To everyone else, I invite you to try it on for size.  How did the meeting go?  It involved way too much unnecessary emotion consumption. Will you be going on a second date with that guy?  I don’t have time for that much unnecessary energy consumption.

Next up:  One of Korea’s finest contributions to English… skinship.

Update:  No search engine recognition yet, but another student has continued the trend of linguistic invention with the word “gastroventurer”.  No explanation needed 🙂

Update#2: Mission Accomplished. Search Engine recognition of ‘Unnecessary Emotion Consumption’ has been achieved and I’d like to congratulate Kim Minji 김민지 on her contribution to the English lexicon.

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