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People seem to feel strongly about this - Input Junkie
June 19th, 2010
12:07 pm

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People seem to feel strongly about this

Which do you prefer?

Death is Nature's way of defriending you
16(43.2%)
Death is Nature's way of unfriending you
21(56.8%)

(16 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:nancylebov
Date:June 19th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
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What's the grammatical issue?

I think 'defriending' is a little better in this case, but it's because of the alliteration.

I don't think one is much better than the other, but I want to use the joke in a button slogan.
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From:thespian
Date:June 19th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
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'defriend' isn't really the 'word' as such: 'unfriend' is the word that gets used more frequently in this context (defriend gets about 140k hits on Google, unfriend gets 200k. Defriend does get used in non-online contexts, if you look at the hits, while Unfriend is an online construction and more appropriate to this joke).

Also Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend explains why it's been accepted into the Oxford Dictionary. That actually might make unfriend the more grammatically sound option.

But more importantly, if you're actually going for the people who *use* Facebook et al, you want unfriend regardless of preference or grammar, because that's what people use
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From:nancylebov
Date:June 19th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
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I've just been using 'defriend' because that's the way I was given the joke, and that version reliably gets a laugh. I don't know whether 'unfriend' would lead to a faster, louder, or more enthusiastic laugh.
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From:thespian
Date:June 19th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
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well, yeah; it's not like they don't get the joke when you tell it that way. It's a minor thing. I'm just telling you (as person who spends time getting paid to tutor people in Facebook and twitter and other social media) that 'unfriend' is probably more apt. Neither version sabotages the joke, just 'unfriend' is the Oxford-approved usage ;-)
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From:vvalkyri
Date:June 20th, 2010 07:36 am (UTC)
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interesting. I've always said/thought defriend in the context of someone removing someone else from hir flist.
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From:whswhs
Date:June 19th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
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What's the difference between "defriending" and "unfriending"?
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From:nancylebov
Date:June 19th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Afaik, there's no difference of meaning, it's just a matter of which word is preferred.
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From:whswhs
Date:June 19th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
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I habitually use "unfriend" because that's the word I've seen used on lj, which is where I run into it.

I think that "unfriend" is slightly preferable, simply because it's not going to be misheard as the much longer established word "befriend," which has a not quite opposite meaning. At this point, of course, it might be "defriend" that won out, but that wouldn't be a good thing, either, as "befriend" is a useful word in its own right.

Now I'm imagining people mondegreening Paul Simon as singing "And just like a dog, I was defriended."
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From:redneckgaijin
Date:June 19th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
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I prefer to not contemplate death when I don't have to.
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From:agrumer
Date:June 19th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
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"Defriending" could be more easily misread as removing your friends rather than removing you from a Friends list.
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From:nancylebov
Date:June 19th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
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In the case of Nature and death, I think it's a distinction without a difference.
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From:elektra
Date:June 19th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
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Neither. It's nature's way of putting out the recycling . . . .
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From:kgbooklog
Date:June 19th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
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Good point. How about: "Death is Nature's way of recycling"?

Similarly, how about: "Contains 100% recycled biomass"?
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From:dcseain
Date:June 19th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Contains 100% recycled biomass

I like that!
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From:regalpewter
Date:June 20th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
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seconded.
YIS,
WRI
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From:sodyera
Date:June 20th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
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Death means you've overextended your warranty.
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