Film? I don’t think so.

It always happens. When you notice a new quirk of language, you begin to hear it more and more often, in many different places. It’s almost as if you’re more attuned to it, so it is suddenly everywhere. Unfortunately, the same thing is true for incorrect uses.

Such is the case for me and the word film. The use of actual film has been on the decline for more than fifteen years. When you go to the theatre to see a film, it’s not film. When you film something with your phone, it definitely isn’t film! Still, people keeping using it.

Part of the problem is that there’s not a nice drop-in replacement. For both film and tape, the noun translates to the verb when you record on the medium. Such isn’t the case with flash memory and hard drives. Record works perfectly, but I suspect that people associate the term specifically with audio. Still, it’s the most accurate and as a bonus, it’s not media-specific.

It doesn’t work for going to the theatre though. My favourite term for that is an old one. In old films, they used to call them pictures. “Hey, do you want to go out tonight and see a picture?” or “Do you want to go to the picture show?” I haven’t been able to bring myself to use it, but I find it utterly charming. I suppose the dull and colourless movie will fill end up filling the gap.

If you do nothing else, for goodness sakes, stop saying that you film or tape video with your phone. You never have and never will.

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2 Comments

  1. Shawn
    Posted August 14, 2015 at 08:10 | Permalink

    We still tape stuff on our PVR, and rewind to go back in the recording. In the OLD days they used to call movies flicks because of the flicker caused by the shutter in the projector.

    • Rick
      Posted August 14, 2015 at 17:55 | Permalink

      Tape stuff on your PVR? You’re killing me!

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