Oriented vs. Orientated

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Tue Mar 27 19:42:35 UTC 2001

>   ENGLISH  : That gator really needs to get oriented.
>   IRWINESE : We need to get him orientated.

>to me, a speaker of good ol' american english, the >phrasing that sounds
>right, of course, is the first one.  i started trying >to figure out why our
>dare-devil hero chose to use the other form instead.
>maybe it's a transitive/intransitive differentiation >that just isn't really
>(if ever) used in a.e. -- getting the gator oriented
>("orientated") versus
>the gator getting himself oriented (just "oriented")

I can think of two hypotheses to explain Irwin's wording, neither of which leads to a general rule or classification.

Hypothesis 1: Irwin was familiar with the noun "orientation" but not with the less common verb "to orient".  Wishing to come up with the verb, he created "to orientate" as an ad-hoc back-formation.  Considering that some -ation nouns have associated verbs that end in -ate (e.g. navigation/navigate, elevation/elevate) and some have associated verbs that do not (e.g. application/apply, expectation/expect) and some lack verbs (e.g. consternation), Irwin guessed and guessed wrong.

Hypothesis 2: "Orientation" has 2 meanings.
    1).  to get your geographical directions or bearings (originally "to find out where east is")
    2).  to be briefed on the local bureaucratic procedures/help locations/cafeteria schedules/whatnot
    Possibly Irwin is in the habit of using "to orient" for meaning 1) and "to orientate" for meaning 2)

The two examples you cited are both in passive voice and I am having trouble determining whether either one has a direct object.

        - Jim Landau

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