I have come across this rather more times than I’d like recently. If anyone remembers the short-lived Libro character, Ranting Ron, who turned out to be too negative for this nice, friendly, supportive blog, he would have been ranting about this one ..
Invite is a verb. It means to ask someone to go somewhere or do something, and can be informal (“she invited me to go for a coffee after yoga”) or formal (“Mr and Mrs Perkins invite you to the wedding of their daughter, Polly”). It can also be used to refer to eliciting a response of some kind – “I would like to invite questions from the audience”. Full stop.
Invitation is a noun. It’s a written or verbal request inviting someone to go somewhere or do something. It’s the bit of card that is used to do this, which Mr and Mrs Perkins will send to you when they want to invite you to their daughter’s wedding. Invitation is the noun to invite’s verb.
Now, I have to admit that the esteemed Oxford dictionaries do admit that there is an Informal use of invite to mean invitation. But I don’t think we need that, do we? Let’s keep the distinction and keep it all nice. OK?
You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.
November 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm
I think that this is one of those situations where, in the long run, the use of the language by the majority will mean that the use of invite as a noun will become an accepted usage. Although I would argue against blurring the use of “practice” and “practise” as that would be wholly wrong in my book! 2p
Liz at Libro
November 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm
To be picky, it’s a bit different from practice / practise which do actually make a useful distinction. Invite for invitation doesn’t actually, when it comes down to it, risk confusing people. I just don’t like it!!