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High school consequential

Posted by Jan Freeman, keep until April December 9, 2008 10:56 PM

At the end of Sunday's column item on using consequence as a verb, I asked, "will naughty children and criminals someday be consequenced?"

Well, it's not standard English yet, but it has found a niche, e-mails D., who works at a residential treatment center for adolescents. "Not only are they consequenced, but there is a Consequence Log," she writes. "The teenagers have even shortened the verb to 'quence, as in 'Are you gonna 'quence me?' "

Those kids, apparently, are truly on the cutting edge (or the clipping edge, I should say, since that's what they're doing to the word consequence). There are several hundred Googlehits for the verb consequence, but so far their 'quence seems to appear only as a typo for quench.

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Rules and realities of English usage from Boston Globe Ideas columnist Jan Freeman.
Jan Freeman, a former Boston Globe editor, has been writing the weekly column The Word since 1997. E-mail her at

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