Since when did ‘shop’ become a transitive verb?
There was a time when you ‘went shopping’, ‘did the shopping’ or ‘shopped for’ something. You didn’t shop anything – or anyone, unless you were some kind of criminal.
So I was surprised when I checked out Marks and Spencer’s nice new website recently to find several instructions to ‘Shop this outfit’. And it doesn’t stop there: there’s ‘Shop new arrivals’, ‘Shop more occasion outfits’ and ‘Shop our edit’ (how is that even a sentence?). In fact, it’s all over the shop (sorry).
And it’s not just Marks and Spencer copywriting. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m noticing this usage everywhere. Perhaps it’s one of those crimes against English invented by the fashion industry (see also ‘a trouser’). Do they think it sounds better? And if so, why?
My dictionary is very clear on the subject. Intransitive verb, often followed by ‘for’. (The only time it is transitive is with the secondary meaning: British slang for ‘inform on’.)
And taking the lead from David Marsh’s wise and entertaining grammar book For Who the Bell Tolls, I can also use a pop song to prove my point. It’s called Shoppin’ for Clothes. If it’s good enough for the Coasters…