Is the Word Conversate Considered Correct Grammar?

Are you wondering if the term conversate is correct grammar? The short answer is no, but the explanation is a bit more complex. 

is conversate considered correct grammar questionis conversate considered correct grammar question

Is Conversate Correct Grammar? 

Conversate is an example of a nonstandard word in the English language. A nonstandard word is a term that people often say, yet that does not represent proper grammar. Conversate is used as a verb indicating the action of engaging in conversation. 

Conversate Origins

While many words considered nonstandard are newer terms that people have started using recently, that is not the case with conversate. Not a new term by any standards, conversate has been used for well over a century. Occurrences of the term have been found in documents dating back to the mid 1800s. The term was used in spoken communication, primarily among members of the African American community, long before that. 

Conversate in Dialect

Due to its common usage in the dialect and vernacular language of the African American community throughout history and into modern times, conversate is recognized in African American English (AAE) and African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Both AAE and AAVE include terms commonly used by members of the Black community, some of which are considered nonstandard (not proper grammar) and others that represent standard (proper grammar) usage. 

Relating Conversate to Standard Terms

The term conversate is believed to be either a shortened form of the noun conversation, an extended version of the verb converse, or a combination of the two terms.

Using Conversate in Communication

It’s common for people to use nonstandard terminology associated with a dialect in communication. Since the goal of communication is to convey information to another person, it’s always important to consider the audience. 

Spoken Communication

Dialect can be appropriate in informal communication settings, though proper grammar is important in most formal communication. 

  • If you are engaged in casual conversation with someone who is comfortable with and conversant in the dialect(s) with which a nonstandard word is associated, then it may make sense to use words like conversate and other commonly used vernacular terminology. 

  • If, however, you are speaking in a formal setting, such as public speaking before a general audience or communicating with a school official, business professional or customer, the setting likely calls for standard English. 

Written Communication

As with spoken communication, it’s important to consider the purpose and audience of written communication when deciding whether to use nonstandard terminology. 

  • In fiction writing, working dialect into the dialogue can be an important aspect of character development. Having a character use terminology associated with a specific ethnic or cultural group helps readers develop deeper insights into the character. 

  • Creative writing, such as song lyrics or poetry, is another place where using dialect like conversate can be appropriate. A number of songs use the word conversate, including Chris Brown’s Post & Delete

  • For formal nonfiction writing, such as academic writing or business writing, it is not advisable to include terminology that is not universally accepted as correct grammar. With these types of writing, it’s important to choose clear, precise language that will accurately convey meaning while also sending an appropriate message about the credibility of the author. 

Conveying Meaning

Because conversate is so close to the words from which it is believed to have originated, using the term when speaking or in writing isn’t likely to keep people from understanding the message. Even though using this word isn’t likely to interfere with the communication of meaning, there can be other problems caused by poor grammar.

Using Correct Grammar

While nonstandard terms, including dialect, can be appropriate in spoken conversation and some types of writing, some situations call for standard language usage. In situations where proper word usage is important, opt to use converse (verb) or conversation (noun), depending on the context, rather than conversate

Relating Nonstandard Words to Slang

Not all nonstandard words are part of a recognized dialect. Individual words that become commonly used without being grammatically correct are referred to as slang terminology. The history of American slang words is very interesting. Discover the difference between proper English versus slang to further enhance your knowledge of nonstandard terms and usage. The more you know about language and the stronger your vocabulary, the better equipped you will be to communicate effectively with others in both spoken interactions and in writing.

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