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Quick Write 090311 " Second as a verb"

Second is a polysemous word. It has multiple meanings of the ordinal number after first, the adjective similar to subordinate or inferior, or a sixtieth of a minute and the like. Have you ever used “second” as a verb? I have to confess that I haven’t. Probably I’d understand or at least infer what the verb “second” means from its context, but I haven’t try using it myself. Yesterday, I received an urgent e-mail from the university program coordinator who asked if the students listed could be recommended to go up the upper-level class in the fall semester. The team members, including myself, quickly responded to our boss’s inquiry, and seemingly all of the students were endorsed by the teachers. One of our colleagues who’s originally from Australia (he’s living in the same city as I live, by the way) replied like this:

I second A's recommendation for B. (A is another colleague and B is one of the nominated students.)

The e-mail was sent to us after most of the team members had responded in some ways, and was going to repeat what someone else already said in the previous correspondence. But I found the use of the verb “second” here quite impressive because…1) It means “support, endorse, or approve”, but can also show some respect to A’s opinion and make the statement decent. 2) If someone else already said what you’re going to say, “I second…” is a nice expression to assert your position without making you look “missed the opportunity to have a word”. 3) It’s the word that a native speaker used in a real situation, and I’d like to learn to use it as he did. 4) It simply sounds “cool” to me.

When I tweeted about the verb “second”, my friend inputted that a trainer for a boxer is called “a second” who assists and supports the fighting. Yes, the visualization of a skilled, experienced second and a young, promising boxer do help understand the meaning and the usage of the verb. I searched example sentences on the online dictionary “Naver” h*tp://www.naver.jp/ and got such results:

I second all that you say. / I second your position on VP election. / May I second comment XX’s on your blog?

You can also use the verb in such a dialogue with your ice cream maniac friend like… “Hey, how about going to Baskin Robbins to check out their latest flavors?” “I second the motion!”

(30 minutes / 409 words)

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Aya

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