The song For Marlon by Soko has the lyrics

And it's been raining for 3 days straight

As a sad reflect of my sorry state

Can you use reflect as a noun (instead of reflection) or is Soko using a poetic licence? In general, is it sometimes okay to drop the suffix -ion in nouns?

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    To me, that's an invention. (Perhaps the same songwriter would say that it is an "invent".) Normally you would use reflection. – Drew Apr 21 '16 at 20:29
  • In response to the second part of the question, no, it is not generally acceptable to drop the -ion suffix from a noun. That is, if the result is a word at all, it is rarely, if ever, synonymous with the original noun. Sometimes, as in your example, it is a verb related to the noun. Other times (nation, fashion, hellion), not. – PellMel Apr 21 '16 at 20:49
  • that usage probably falls under the poetic license idea; I.e. You can twist a phrase up as much as you want in poetry to elicit the desired effect in meter, rhyme and tone – Gus Apr 22 '16 at 10:27

The noun reflect has a long history. Citations from Oxford English Dictionary go back to 1594 and the most recent quote is from 1996:

B. Siegel World of Autistic Child (1998) ii. xii. 298

Lack of enthusiasm for a new job or any new setting is common in autistic people, and may mostly be a reflect of their dislike of things that are unfamiliar.

The meaning is the same as reflection, sense 1 and 3, OED, which I assume you're familiar with and can get from this example and the one you cite.

English won't break if you do drop the -ion from nouns. What to wonder is will anyone else follow you in doing so. Language is a creative medium, like paint or clay. English survived all of Shakespeare's and others' coinings and "violations".

Invent was used as a noun in the early 17th century but it is not anymore.

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  • 1
    Thanks for the answer! I am indeed familiar with the meaning of reflection (that was a fair assumpt). – Sid Apr 22 '16 at 18:42
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    Well if you like the answer and another doesn't come along you can always make this one your select. – Alan Carmack Apr 22 '16 at 22:09

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