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My question is about inanimate things doing things - like the new smartphone will ship out tomorrow; the ship will launch tomorrow; the book will publish next month. We see that often these days. Is that now standard English?

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    It's always been normal English, for some active verbs, to have inanimate subjects, like The ship left yesterday or The phone is ringing. What's changed is that some other verbs are being used this way as well. Everything in a sentence depends on the main verb; they all have individual rules, prohibitions, and affordances, and these change pretty often. Feb 13, 2021 at 18:29
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    Does this answer your question? "This wine is drinking nicely" : does anything else 'drink nicely' etc? Feb 13, 2021 at 18:57
  • There is a brand of liquorice I see in the UK which is described on the packet as 'soft eating'. Feb 13, 2021 at 21:39
  • John Lawler: The two examples you give is/are "normal English'. Multiply that a 1000-fold: The school closed for holidays; the holidays got spoilt owing to the C19; the C19 is a mysterious disease in how it affects different countries. But to say "the vaccine will launch/inaugurate tomorrow" to me is a new trend - and widely accepted. We used to see "the vaccine will be launched/inaugurated tomorrow".
    – Vali Jamal
    Feb 15, 2021 at 14:30
  • Edwin Ashworth: "The wine is drinking nicely' - and now it's gone? Rilly?!
    – Vali Jamal
    Feb 15, 2021 at 14:33

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