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View Full Version : Mouse... as a verb?



Clair Dickson
10-03-2008, 08:15 PM
So... what verb(s) do you use to describe moving the mouse on your computer around? I personally like to use 'mouse.' I moused around, looking for the file. That sort of thing.

Generally I'm against verbing a noun, espeically when there is a perfectly good verb already available, such as tasked instead of assigned. What is there for mousing?

Any ideas?

Or should I just keep mousing and hope it catches on? ;-)

tehuti88
10-03-2008, 08:27 PM
Truthfully, when I hear the verb "mousing" I think of what my cat was up to last night. :D

With the computer mouse, I always just say "scrolling" or some such, even though not all mouse-related acts are actually scrolling. Something I never really thought of before. Then again, I don't tend to write about computers!

I do know there's the term "mouseover" or "mouse over," however. I've seen that used to indicate hovering the cursor over things on the computer, but I don't know if it's accepted as a verb yet.

CaroGirl
10-03-2008, 08:35 PM
All the mouse actions have a name. The action of clicking the left mouse button is "click", as in: Click Save. The action of clicking the right mouse button is "right click", as in: Right-click the main menu. If you're clicking links, you're "navigating" to a file, as in: Navigate to the DOS prompt. You can also scroll with the mouse, cut, copy and paste. For popup help in software, the style guide I wrote says, "hover the mouse pointer over the item". The mouse is a piece of hardware; the actions you perform on the screen involve the software.

But I never, ever use mouse as a verb.

kuwisdelu
10-03-2008, 08:43 PM
Why does a verb have to be accepted before we can use it? Use whatever you feel like, be it "mouse", "mouseover", etc.

In my linguistics class, I encouraged the evolution of the English language by gaining acceptance for the verb "to spider." As in "I got spidered!"

HeronW
10-03-2008, 09:01 PM
Words change and are added to lexicons according to common usage.

A cat can be a good mouser, or a good ratter. Catting around has rather lacivious connoations, so does being catty. If enough people recognize and understand your mousing moves, then it works. To many huh?s and it doesn't.

Maryn
10-03-2008, 09:07 PM
I am once again reminded of the bazillion literate people who are very ill at ease with computer terminology in fiction. Remember, many older readers not only don't have or want a computer but have never seen one in use except in the movies. Those readers don't know the thing is called a mouse, although if you explain it, they'll get it.

That said, I'd probably use I searched for the file, the computer mouse jumping among folders or something like that.

Maryn, loath to exclude readers, as she has so very few

jennifer75
10-03-2008, 09:16 PM
Scroll. "Scroll over there....scroll back over here......" No?

Clair Dickson
10-03-2008, 09:22 PM
I thought scroll was just the wheel in the middle of the mouse that moves the page up and down. Different from moving through the folders and files (in Explorer or My Computer, for example)

And what about when you (or the character) can't see the screen? You se the other person mousing around, clicking to get up some specific screen, before they answer the question?

Just musings. Just seeing what other writerly people think. I'm a word nerd-- I could talk and read about this stuff all day. =)

jennifer75
10-03-2008, 09:24 PM
I use a Marble Mouse - I don't have the scroll thingy you speak of.

But I can't think of a better word for mousing around on the screen.

mscelina
10-03-2008, 09:24 PM
I had an author use the term 'moused' in a manuscript I recently edited. I had him change it. For my purposes, although 'moused' gives me a very specific mental image, I've yet to see a reason to change commonly accepted nomenclature for the action (Then, too, I also think of cats) In the near future things may change, but for the moment it is too nebulous a term to replace "scrolled over" or "left-clicked."

geardrops
10-03-2008, 09:28 PM
I use "mouse" as a verb to indicate computer-mouse-usage.

For instance, "I learn all the keyboard shortcuts I can, coz I hate mousing."

Which is largely true. I don't hate mousing specifically. I hate swapping back and forth.

benbradley
10-03-2008, 09:53 PM
I am once again reminded of the bazillion literate people who are very ill at ease with computer terminology in fiction.
A problem with it from the "computer-knowledgable" end is it changes so fast, and in a few short years something you write can appear outdated. Virtually no one uses floppy disks anymore, and the CD (which appears to be the name many people use for the CD-R) is becoming a legacy thing. To take a file with you, you can either gmail it to yourself, or put it on a thumb drive (appears to be a newer name than a flash drive).

Then hope these things are still commonly used in these ways 1. by the time you're finished the book, 2. by the time your manuscript is accepted (by agent, then by publisher), and (the scary part because you can't edit it at this point) 3. by the time your book is printed and hits bookstore shelves.

Oh, and getting it right for a movie screenplay (which they decide to make a year or two after the book is published)? Forget it, the author has no control over what Hollywood will do with it anyway. Just take the money and run.

Remember, many older readers not only don't have or want a computer but have never seen one in use except in the movies.
Resisting mentioning denigrating and outright STUPID computer depictions I've seen in movies, even where computers were a significant part of the story.

Those readers don't know the thing is called a mouse, although if you explain it, they'll get it.

That said, I'd probably use I searched for the file, the computer mouse jumping among folders or something like that.

Maryn, loath to exclude readers, as she has so very few
As someone who has actually written more than one file indexing program (it can even be done in a series of MS-DOS cmmands collectively known as a batch file), I cringe at such an unknowledgable way of doing such a thing.

And to think the big Macintosh "1984" ad was almost a quarter century ago. Apple was a fledgling company with its ups and downs trying to sell computers and wondering-if-its-gonna-say-in-busines speculations during that time, until they started selling that "iPod" thing. I guess a lot more people want to listen to music than want to use computers. People only ever learned what "play" "rewind" and the ever-convenient, skip-that-bad-song "fast forward" did because they wanted to listen to music. That explained the popularity of the 8-track, you only had to stick the tape in to turn it on make it play.

Aww, now my mind has gone into the gutter. What was the topic again?

geardrops
10-03-2008, 10:37 PM
Resisting mentioning denigrating and outright STUPID computer depictions I've seen in movies, even where computers were a significant part of the story.

Oh, so, you've seen Hackers too?

benbradley
10-04-2008, 04:32 AM
Oh, so, you've seen Hackers too?
Haven't even seen it, funny you should mention it... but I've seen Sneakers, which from the movie databases is a similar story. At least Sneakers was a bit toungue-in-cheeck.

GLAZE_by_KyrstinMc
10-04-2008, 04:59 AM
"moused" sounds fine to me. :)

ishtar'sgate
10-04-2008, 05:16 AM
So... what verb(s) do you use to describe moving the mouse on your computer around? I personally like to use 'mouse.' I moused around, looking for the file. That sort of thing.

I kinda like it. I'm all for inventing new words. As long as the reader can understand what you mean through context, I'd use it.

kuwisdelu
10-04-2008, 05:29 AM
Oh, so, you've seen Hackers too?

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Bartholomew
10-04-2008, 06:19 AM
To Scroll describes moving the viewer up and down an open computer window.

To Select describes pointing at (or tabbing to) something and highlighting it.

To tab describes doing the above with the keyboard.

To navigate describes moving through a system.

smoothseas
10-04-2008, 06:38 AM
Truthfully, when I hear the verb "mousing" I think of what my cat was up to last night. :D


"Brrrpp," he meows plaintively, "fix it, Ma. It's broke!"

Ms Hollands
10-04-2008, 01:44 PM
I thought scroll was just the wheel in the middle of the mouse that moves the page up and down. Different from moving through the folders and files (in Explorer or My Computer, for example)


No, the scroll bar down the right side of documents etc. has been around a lot longer than the middle mouse wheel. Scrolling has been done since the first graphical interface Mac.

I'm sure I've heard "mousing around" used as a way to describe people playing around like a cartoon (ie, Mickey Mouse): "Stop mousing around". Maybe it's a good play on words to use it in the IT sense too.

I would personally stick to something more plain but that's probably because of my tech authoring background making me dull and boring with IT-related stuff. Actually, in a novel, I don't think I'd ever write about a computer because, as previously mentioned, it's technology that does change frequently at the moment. Whose to say we'll be using mouse pointers at all in the next five years?

TsukiRyoko
10-04-2008, 01:55 PM
I've use "mouse" as a verb, but as in, "to mouse about", which is a reference to sneaking around somehow, whether physically, through gossip, for information, under someone's nose, etc. I've never used "mouse" as a verb for my actual mouse. For that, I've simply used "moved the mouse" when it came to it, or "navigated the wesbite," "clicked," or something to that extent. Good luck, and hopefully someone else will come along more helpful than me.

Dale Emery
10-04-2008, 02:12 PM
Somebody has to say this, and I'm awake, so...

Verbing weirds language (http://bp2.blogger.com/_I0JyZiMKuh0/R0SsGMbc7qI/AAAAAAAAAEM/wadQnwbHbJ4/s1600-h/verbing-sm-01.jpg).

Dale

Kryianna
10-05-2008, 05:48 AM
In my linguistics class, I encouraged the evolution of the English language by gaining acceptance for the verb "to spider." As in "I got spidered!"

It already is a verb. Search engines "spider" websites to add them to their index. If you "got spidered", it means a search engine crawled your site recently.