October 4, 2012

Weekly Language Usage Tips: manifest & jibe or jive

Posted in jibe/jive, manifest at 8:25 am by dlseltzer

Tip 1: Manifest        

A reader writes:

Can you do a post on how to properly use the term “manifest?”

I am finishing up an invited review paper on “interdisciplinary collaboration in addictions education.” Here is the blurb from the manuscript:

At that time, we began to consider the interrelationships between interdisciplinary collaboration (IC) and interprofessional education (IPE), and concluded that interdisciplinary collaboration in addictions education often manifests itself in the form of IPE initiatives. By its very nature, IPE includes IC; learners often collaborate during the learning experiences and are exposed to content and activities that are meant to promote further interdisciplinary collaboration in clinical practice. IPE also involves collaboration by interdisciplinary faculty and individuals from academic institutions and community agencies who  work together to develop  courses, programs, and activities for a diverse set of learners.

Is this correct use of “manifest,” or should it be something like “IC is manifest in IPE initiatives?”

Or “IPE initiatives manifest the phenomenon of IC?”

Manifest is a bit of a tricky word. As a verb, it is usually transitive (that is, it takes a direct object); although in rare instances, it can be intransitive (in this form, it refers to the appearance of spirits—not liquor—ghosts).  In its more common, transitive form, it means ‘to make clear’ or ‘prove.’

NOTE: The last time we talked about ‘manifest,’ back in 2010 (https://languagetips.wordpress.com/category/manifest/) , I included a pretty long discussion of transitive and intransitive verbs, so I won’t do that, today.

It can also be an adjective or a noun. As an adjective, it means clear or evident. As a noun, I don’t expect that we will see it much in our scientific writing as it means ‘a list of cargo for transport.’

So how is it used in the paragraph above?

We concluded that interdisciplinary collaboration in addictions education often manifests itself in the form of IPE initiatives.

It’s being used as a transitive verb with ‘itself’ being the direct object. I would probably substitute the wording of ‘make evident’ to see if it works okay as a verb, here:

We concluded that interdisciplinary collaboration in addictions education often makes itself evident in the form of IPE initiatives.

That works, so that is okay. Let’s try the reader’s other possibilities.

IC is manifest in IPE initiatives.

Here, it is used as an adjective. Let’s see if it works by replacing ‘manifest’ with ‘clear.’

IC is clear in IPE initiatives.

That works, too, so we can use it as an adjective here. One last possibility to try:

IPE initiatives manifest the phenomenon of IC.

Now, ‘manifest’ appears to be a transitive verb with ‘phenomenon’ the direct object. Let’s try to replace it with ‘make clear.’

IPE initiatives makes clear the phenomenon of IC.

And that works, too. Hmm. Maybe “manifest’ is not such a tricky word after all.

Tip 2: Jibe or jive

A reader writes:

I really enjoy your weekly missives.  Would you be willing to comment sometime on the confusion people have between the words “jibe” and “jive”?  The following website http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jibe notes that in American usage the words are used interchangeably to mean “to agree or accord” but that, in fact, this is wrong.

The reader is correct. Despite wiktionary’s declaration (and as much as I loathe to question he legitimacy of wiktionary’s assertion—oy), ‘jibe’ and ‘jive’ have distinct meanings and cannot be used interchangeably.

A slight rant: I see it more and more often. Something is stated erroneously and that mistaken statement becomes a ‘variant’ of the thing that is correct. That is ridiculous. A mistake is a mistake is a mistake. A mistake is not a variant. It seems to me that this transformation to variant status is just a ploy to excuse sloppy writing. And there is NO excuse. I know that language evolves, and as you know, I love that. But this evolution in no way justifies considering a blunder a correct ‘variant.’ We need to own up to our gaffes and take responsibility!

There. I feel so much better.

Now, what was the question? Oh yes, jibe and jive.

Jibe is not a variant of jive, and jive is not a variant of jibe. What follows refers to their verb forms:

Jibe means to be in accord or to agree.

Findings of the most recent study jibe with our hypothesis about how the phenomenon works.

Jive is slang meaning to speak insincerely or to verbally deceive.

Don’t pay any attention to him; he’s been jiving you!

Not the same at all.


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