The word “hypnotize” is the verb form of the noun “hypnotism,” which first entered the English language in 1841, according to the “International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.” James Braid, who coined the term, based it on the Greek “hypnos,” meaning “sleep,” according to the “Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology.” Despite its somewhat esoteric origins, you can readily use the word “hypnotize” in sentences in various ways.
“Hypnotize” is a transient verb. These verbs must take a direct object in order to make sense. In other words, there is always something or someone receiving the action of the verb; in this case, someone is being hypnotized. It does not make sense to say, “James Braid hypnotized,” without specifying whom he hypnotized. A better sentence is, “James Braid hypnotized his assistant.” In the passive voice, the direct object moves to the subject position: “The assistant was hypnotized.”
“Hypnotize” is also a regular verb, meaning that its various forms follow the standard pattern for verbs in English. The third-person present verb adds “-s,” and the past tense adds “-d.” The present-tense conjugations of the verb forms of “hypnotize” are “I/you/we/they hypnotize someone” and “he/she hypnotizes someone.” The past tense is “hypnotized,” and the present progressive tense is “hypnotizing.”
Like all verbs, “hypnotize” can become a verbal, which transforms it into another part of speech. A gerund ends in “-ing” and acts as a noun, while a participle, ending in “-ing” or “-ed,” acts as an adjective. This sentence uses a gerund: “Hypnotizing someone is not dangerous.” Although it looks like a verb, “hypnotizing” is the subject of the sentence. “Hypnotize” is more difficult to use as a participle gracefully, which is often true of transient verbs: “The hypnotizing psychologist got her degree at Princeton.” Grammatically, the sentence works, but it sounds awkward; a better way to convey the idea is to use the verb in a phrase describing the subject: “The psychologist who hypnotizes patients got her degree at Princeton.” A third type of verbal is the infinitive, which is simply the infinitive verb form; it can act as a noun, adjective or adverb. In this example, the infinitive serves as a noun, specifically the direct object: “I intended to hypnotize him.”
Real-world examples of “hypnotize” used in sentences abound. For instance, hypnotist Igor Ledochowski has claimed, “You really can hypnotize people in everyday situations.” The “International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences” poses this rhetorical question: “Who can be hypnotized?” Humorist Jack Handey has quipped: “I think the monkeys at the zoo should have to wear sunglasses so they can’t hypnotize you.” In an interview with David D. Duncan, science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon confessed, “… so far, nobody has been able to hypnotize me.”
- International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences: Hypnosis
- Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology: Hypnosis
- University of Ottawa Writing Centre: HyperGrammar, Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Gerunds
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Participles
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Infinitives
- Hypnosis Unlocked: The Key to Mind Manipulation
- Emory University Department of Physics: The Push from Within, the Extrapolative Ability of Theodore Sturgeon; David D. Duncan
Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.