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A non profit organization is running a campaign that is encouraging people to sacrifice a small luxury and donate that money to a cause instead. They are building the campaign around Twitter hashtag #IGiveUp.

In general, I've seen "I give up" being used as "cease making an effort; admit defeat. (Google)".

Question: Is #IGiveUp an appropriate hashtag in this context? If not, any suggestions on what would be (Around #IGiveUp)?

  • Is this nonprofit looking to support a specific cause? Or do they just want people to select a cause and donate to it? – ruakh Dec 18 '16 at 20:06
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    As a marketing slogan it's terrible. it suggests "I surrender", not "I sacrifice for the greater good". – user175542 Dec 18 '16 at 20:58
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    Shoulda gone with #IGive, but perhaps it was taken... – Drew Dec 19 '16 at 2:25
  • @ruakh they work for a specific cause and they are requesting people to donate for that. – TJ- Dec 19 '16 at 3:34
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You're quite right about the problem with #IGiveUp. It's kind of a clever pun (if intentional), but the problem is that "I give up" has such negative connotations — and is such a plausible hashtag on its own — that it overwhelms the cleverness.

As an alternative, I'd suggest #GiveItUpForACause. This is also a pun — "give it up for X" is a colloquialism meaning "please clap now for X" — but it has positive connotations, and it invites the reader to look deeper to see what is meant.

  • Your suggestion for a hashtag is much better than the one they're using. – Kat Dec 19 '16 at 5:32
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What are you going to give up for Lent

is a question Catholics commonly ask each other. Often it is something like chocolate or ice cream.

Thus the #IgiveUp is appropriate in your context. I give up will resonate with one billion Catholics and people who have Catholic friends. Giving the money spent daily on these treats to a charity will add up.

From Pope Francis’ Guide to Lent: What You Should Give Up This Year, by Christopher Hale (Feb. 2015)

“What are you giving up for Lent?” It’s a question a lot of people will get these next few days. If you want to change your body, perhaps alcohol and candy is the way to go. But if you want to change your heart, a harder fast is needed. This narrow road is gritty, but it isn’t sterile.

  • The problem is that no one ever says, "I give up for Lent". Instead, they say "I'm giving up ____ for Lent". So the hashtag #IGiveUp doesn't evoke Lent, it evokes surrender. – ruakh Dec 19 '16 at 19:56
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Since the hashtag #IGiveUp doesn't have an object associated with the verb, it does make it sound like the intransitive sense of "give up," which Merriam-Webster defines as

to cease doing or attempting something especially as an admission of defeat

M-W gives no other intransitive meaning for "give up." Because there is no other intransitive meaning, the hashtag necessarily imparts a sense of surrender, rather than sacrifice. The only way to "fix" the hashtag would be to include an object:

#IGiveThingsUp

which sounds lame, but "things" is just a placeholder here.

The object could also be placed last:

#IGiveUpLuxury

The issue with adding the object is that the hashtag then becomes more specific; however, without the object it definitely conveys the meaning of "surrender."

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How about

#IGive(Up)

To make things clearer

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