Belt of Verbs – Friday Leather Punch Edition

If you’re a user of the language, you’ll need a
verb sooner
or later.

Evidently, today’s Friday Leather Punch Edition is concerned with
. As in,

The strong odor in the office evidenced Yoki’s sick stomach.

it comes: I really don’t like the verb evidenced. I know it’s a
legitimate word, but it always sounds wrong to me, no matter the context.
A faint hunch tells me it’s a rip-off of evinced (that one, a verb of verbs!).
I doubt I would be stating it too strongly to say that this is the real dividing
line in the academy and, yes, all of humanity: those who use evidenced, and those who do not.

I checked it against the only corpus of texts I have on my trusty laptop
computer–the last nineteen years of CCC articles. Thirty-one out
of 414 articles put to good and proper use the verb evidenced. More than
seven percent! But the distribution isn’t even across the years. Just nine articles use evidenced from 1989-1999; twenty-two articles use evidenced since the turn of the century.

What does this evidence evidence? The question is too fresh to return a
decisive answer. And in the mean time, I will stick with suggested,
indicated, and proved as ready-to-verbalize ahead of evidenced.
Make room for evidenced, if you must, in one of the deep pouches on the
expanding belt of verbs.


  1. Yeah, evidenced still seems stylistically clunky to me, though times change–as indexed by your CCC data. BTW, how do you feel about indexed?

  2. I have a fondness for index (v.), indexed, and indexing. Actually, I like them all very much. But I can’t say that I’ve noticed indexed many times being used interchangeably with evidenced.

  3. I don’t much like it as a verb myself. It’s from evidentia, which I think likely derives from the preposition e or ex (out of, out from) plus the participial form of the verb videre (to see, to know). So it’s this sense of showing outwardly, but turned into a verbal noun and then a noun. For the sense of the verb that you’re talking about, the Romans preferred monstrare, indicare, or testari. Which makes me wonder why we have demonstrate but not monstrate.

  4. Good stuff. I hadn’t looked into any of it. Monstrate makes sense, but it’d take some getting used to, too.

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