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We're making a website in which users can mark some objects as objects they like. Since we're not native English speakers here, a dispute evolved around what's the correct way to call this user-object relationship in the past tense: favored or favorited. For example, should it be Jack favored Jill's video or Jack favorited Jill's video?

From googling, I suspect both forms are correct or at least commonly acceptable, but I'm wondering if one of them is more correct, if there's a slight semantic difference I'm missing or if you'd think one is more proper where the other is more colloquial.

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Maybe "Jack added Jill's video to his favorites," is better. –  Jeremy Jan 2 '13 at 7:51
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You should use the verb favourite and not favour. Favour means show an approval or preference for, while favourite means record to enable quick access. It is true that you favourite a video on a website if you like it, but the sense you want to convey here is not that you like the video but that you mark the video in some way. Of course, the past tense of favourite is favourited.

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Thank you for the prompt reply! One particular thing perhaps I should have highlighted in the question is the form favorited (past tense, d suffix) - is this indeed correct? Jack favorited Jill's video? –  Yaniv Aknin Jan 2 '13 at 8:07
    
Other jargon used with the same meaning as "favorite" includes "star", "bookmark", "follow", and "+1". –  MετάEd Jan 2 '13 at 8:30
    
-1 There is no such verb as to favorite. It's Facebook & Twitter cant, linguistic stupidity, cultural necrosis, and bad advice to suggest legitimizing garbage English. I can't believe that any native speaker serious about English usage would even suggest using it & then have the cojones to ask for an upvote for it, even in jest. –  user21497 Jan 2 '13 at 8:43
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@Bill: The linguistic twits at Wiktionary also gave into cultural necrosis, and listed favorite as a verb there – with (gasp!) two meanings, not just one. As the internet becomes more ubiquitous and an integral part of our daily lives, it only follows that language would evolve. (When I was a kid, cookies were something you ate for desert, and viruses were caught on the playground.) Not so long ago, spell checkers would put red lines under newfangled jargon, like website. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to favorite this question. :^) –  J.R. Jan 2 '13 at 9:10
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@BillFranke: What do you think of websites using the verb love being used to mark something as favourite? Or the verb like alongside a heart symbol? Anyway, favourite as a verb is ugly, but it's so widespread that it's not going away. –  Hugo Jan 2 '13 at 13:41
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As Jasper Loy pointed out in the other answer, favorite/favourite has entered into the vocabulary as a verb in British English and even been recognized by the OOD, but I thought I'd provide the American perspective:

Favorite is traditionally a noun or adjective. Although its use as a verb would certainly be understood, its use seems to be limited to certain websites (e.g. Twitter) and it would sound "wrong" to some ears. It does not appear in either M-W or dictionary.com at present.

Additionally, this NGram shows that while "favorite" may be a legitimate verb in some circles, its past tense has not found its way into the corpus.

American usage tends to prefer alternative constructions when it comes to UI design, such as "bookmark", "star" or the wordier "Add to Favorites".

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It's worth noting that the Ngram you linked to only goes until the year 2000. (Google Ngrams only goes to 2008, and there are still zero hits up through that year.) Also, as a matter of opinion, I don't find anything less awkward about using the word star as a verb in that context than the word favorite. –  J.R. Jan 2 '13 at 9:36
    
A minor point: favourite has not yet entered the Oxford English Dictionary (OED, £) as a verb, only a noun and adjective. Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO, free) is different dictionary. –  Hugo Jan 2 '13 at 13:10
    
e@J.R. - Good point. It is, admittedly, a matter of opinion. I had never heard 'favorited' used before this question, personally, so it feels weird to me. –  Lynn Jan 2 '13 at 15:44
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