Using “Strive” as a Noun

imageObviously I know what my students mean when they use “strive” as a noun, in phrases like “the strive for success.”

I have noticed this more frequently in recent years.

I do not think they are mishearing “strife” (which has the same linguistic root, but has negative connotations of violence and opposition, whereas the verb “strive” connotes dedication and progress).

Is this a regionalism, like “that table needs washed,” or a rising alternative form, like “based off of” (to which I still object as an illogical and unnecessary distortion of “based on”)?

I have also seen “thrive” used the same way, though less frequently.

11 thoughts on “Using “Strive” as a Noun

    • Well, I can recognize something is nonstandard without calling it “wrong”. But whatever benefit your prose gets from “strive” as a noun is probably not worth the risk of calling attention to the nonstandard word choice. So I’ll continue to flag such usage for revision when I see it in academic or professional settings, though I probably would not take off any points on a timed writing exercise.

  1. strive is a verb AND a noun. It’s uncommon in usage as a noun. That’s all!
    Just gotta use it correctly!

    • If you have found any dictionaries that accept “strive” as a noun, please let me know. So far I haven’t found any. Here’s a thread in which someone asks for a noun that means “the act of striving,” and nobody suggests “strive.”

      I regularly encounter students who write “would of” or “per say,” but I don’t accept them as uncommon variations. The English language does evolve, but I’m not ready to accept “strive” as a noun just because some of my students use it.

  2. I’ve seen it on and off since I started teaching in the 90s. But it seems to have roared back recently. It’s horrid, and I love the Picard meme you have above.

    And, yes, “based off of” is stylistic brutality.

  3. I’m not sure I’ve heard “the strive for success.” Rather, I hear “TO strive for success.” Maybe I’ve not primed my ears for the distinction. Now I’m going to The Baader-Meinhof it everywhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *