Ask AZBlog: googled maps NP

Ben lee Volk writes:

A friend of mine showed me the following post from the blog “texts from last night”:

(480): I just googled maps his house, and took the virtual tour back to my apartment, just so I could visualize the walk of shame in the morning. (link)

and asked: “googled maps? I’d probably say “google mapped”. I googled (not maps) for more hits, and there are few relevant ones…

This form reminded me your post on internal inflection only with “ed” suffix for past tense, rather than “s” suffix for plural (as in “shouts out”). Would you agree, or do you believe it to be something else?

My first idea was that the “last night” example was just missing a preposition: “maps of/for/from his house”. Inadvertent omissions like this do happen, after all.

Then I looked at some of those relevant hits, for instance some with “googled maps it” (where “it” is the direct object):

Beautiful place! I just googled maps it and turns out we’re only 8.5 hours away.. (link)

when i googled maps it, it brought me somewhere else.  not the other location though.  strange. (link)

There are suspiciously many relevant hits, in fact.

Then I came across examples like the following:

I also googled(maps) the NY address she gave me and it says it doesn’t exists. I personally won’t proceed with them..I think it’s a scam, so.. check it out. (link)

The form made me a bit suspicious; I googled/maps their RETURN address, several financial businesses appeared at the SAME address:… (link)

Ah. You can google maps ‘google up maps’, but you can also google (up) places or addresses using Google Maps, and some people apparently can refer to this latter activity by the verb google(maps), google (maps), google/maps, or just plain google maps:

Rich, Google maps the address once you enter it [the Toronto subway]. (link)

Hope this helps, you should be able to google maps the address. (link)

(and a number of others).

Google maps can then be used as an idiomatic combination of a head verb and a following noun; compare take part and take place. So inflection is on the head, internal to the idiom. The past tense of google maps the address is googled maps the address.

4 Responses to “Ask AZBlog: googled maps NP”

  1. Greg Morrow Says:

    Are there verb+noun idioms that take an NP complement? Both take X examples take PP complements.

  2. The Ridger Says:

    Hmmm. I know its Google Maps, but I would say “I google mapped his house”.

  3. arnoldzwicky Says:

    The Ridger: “Hmmm. I know its Google Maps, but I would say “I google mapped his house”.”

    Of course you would (and so would I); that’s standard usage. What’s at issue here is whether the reported example was some sort of inadvertent error or a systematic (though non-standard) usage, and I was arguing for the latter.

  4. arnoldzwicky Says:

    Greg Morrow: “Are there verb+noun idioms that take an NP complement? Both take X examples take PP complements.”

    I’m not sure that an exact model, down to all details, is necessary, but there are at least a few verb+noun idioms that take an NP complement: “lay waste (to) NP”, for example, as in “lay waste their lands”. But V+N compound verbs (which are, of course, many of them idioms) are pretty productive in colloquial English: “They kiss-assed everyone they wanted to impress”.

    I tried to avoid the question of whether “Google maps” in the original examples is a compound or not, because I’m not entirely sure what the answer is. (I should remind you that none of these usages are natural for me.)

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