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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, you can find an archive list at the bottom of this page.

Friday, February 3

Slippery English Language

The English language is a slippery beast. Non-native speakers (and even quite a few native speakers) have a terrible time deciphering some of our words and their slippery meanings. For example, the old linguistic conundrum “Time flies” shows us how many of our words can be used in different function classes, from noun to verb and back again.

To explain further, “time” can be either a noun or a verb. In the first case the phrase, using “time” as a noun, means that time (or life) flies (goes quickly). In the second case, “time” is a verb in the imperative voice, commanding the listener to time (or measure out in seconds or minutes) how fast “flies” (the pesky little winged creatures) travel.

Another example is one I thought of in the depths of night, one of those half-waking, half-sleeping moments when the mind takes on a remarkable clarity that is almost always lost with morning’s light, like the dreams we have that we try to hold onto after waking but that almost always slip away before we can write them down or even tell them to someone. Here it is: “I lie on my bed sheets” and “I lie on my tax sheets.” The meanings of the two have a way of slipping around, like trying to run in glass shoes on a frozen lake, or writing with quicksilver on wax paper. My night thoughts were more complete than this, but whatever else I thought of is now consigned to that cabinet in the sky where all our lost dreams and thoughts reside.

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