Have you ever stared at a word so long or seen it repeated so often that you start to doubt that it’s actually a word? This morning I had to convert a few files into one pdf and took to naming the files “content 1”, “content 2”, and so on. That’s when it hit me–content is a really strange word. Has it always looked so strange? Is it pronounced with the stress on the first syllable or the second? Does the stress on the syllable actually change the meaning of the word? Was I even spelling it correctly? What the heck was a content anyway? I became convinced that I was making up the word. I felt that it looked deeply wrong despite not getting the squiggly red line under the word. What the heck was going on?! Before I had an epic word meltdown, I took a trip to Google to make sure I wasn’t the only one affected by this phenomena.
According to Matthew J.X. Malady, an Slate columnist/super villain, this condition is called “wordnesia” and it happens to the best of us, even linguists and professors! According to Malady’s article,
“James contended that our conscious experiences are made up of components he referred to as the nucleus and the fringe. The nucleus consists of sensory information that we discern easily and have no trouble perceiving (the individual letters that make up words, for instance) while the fringe entails more nebulous experiences or responses that help inform fully developed thoughts. Fringe-type sensations involving familiarity, significance, and correctness would appear to be critical in connecting all the dots when reading and writing, but in some instances the signals can get crossed. Sometimes, as Epstein says, “the fringe provides a sense of ‘wrongness’ when it should be providing a sense of ‘rightness.’ ”
To put it simply, while we’re going about our reading and writing business, there seems to be a small hiccup in our brain that says “This word isn’t right!” To put it even more simply, no one knows definitely why this happens to us. The good news is that the symptoms don’t seem to last very long and I was back to converting files in no time! Has wordnesia ever affected you?
Raise vs rise
Both raise and rise refer to something going up, but there is a difference.
Raise needs a direct object – if you raise something you move it up. It has both literal and non-literal meanings and it is a regular verb, so it’s past and past participle forms are raised.
- I raise my eyebrows when I’m surprised.
- The government plan to raise taxes.
- He raised his voice at me in anger, but I forgave him.
Rise does not take a direct object – things rise or go up by themselves. Rise is an irregular verb so the past form is rose and the past participle is risen.
- The sun rises at 6a.m.
- The water level rises twice a day because of the tide.
- The bird rose into the air and flew away.
In English, there are many ways to have your speaking partner repeat themselves if you didn’t hear what they said. Some of these are pretty colloquial, but try out the following the next time you are speaking to a native English speaker and need them to repeat something.
- “Can you say that again?”
- “What did you say?”
- “One more time, please.”
- “Can you repeat that?”
- “I’m sorry?”
- “What now?”
- “Can I hear that again?”
- “I beg your pardon?”*
- “I didn’t catch that, can you say it again?”
*use only if you think the person is saying something offensive or surprising.
Have you heard of this new Netflix show, Insatiable, that may or may not be coming out later this year? I watched the trailer earlier this week and it seems…problematic, to say the least. Here’s the official trailer so you can judge for yourself:
Yikes. I have many problems with this show just from seeing the trailer.
Patty is portrayed by Debby Ryan, a 25 year old actress who is playing the part of a high schooler. Patty is constantly bullied for her weight. She believes that if she were thinner, she could have a normal high school experience of dating boys and being friends with the popular girls. Patty’s life changes dramatically when she is seemingly punched in the face by a homeless man which causes her to have her jaw wired shut. She then loses an incredible amount of weight and seeks revenge on those that made fun of her in the past. Patty decides to get even by winning a beauty pageant. Patty and her classmates may or may not learn a lesson about inner beauty and that getting revenge on others is bad.
Sigh. Here’s what I have a problem with:
I realize that this show was probably written by a team of people who have been out of high school for twenty-some years. Granted, I’ve been out of high school for about ten years, but I can almost guarantee you that no one makes fun of people for being fat. Have you seen the statistics of obesity in the U.S.? Newsflash: practically everyone is overweight.
That being said; Patty?? Who under the age of 50 has the name Patricia aka Patty? It seems pretty convenient that this story is about an overweight girl who just happens to be called Patty. Such lazy writing.
Additionally, the “Mean Queen Bee” of the high school trope is so played out. Think of the most popular girl at your high school; was she mean? No, right? Because then no one would like her. The popular girl in school is probably smart, athletic, and nice to her friends and classmates, and indifferent to everyone else. Additionally, the trailer shows that someone has spray painted “Fatty Patty” on Patty’s school locker. That’s destruction of school property! I’m pretty sure “petty vandalism” isn’t a popular high school girl’s list of hobbies.
My biggest complaint is the entire premise of the show, really. A young girl (portrayed by an adult) is punched in the face by a man which causes her to lose a lot of weight. She wants to lose weight because she wants to be attractive to her peers and have a “normal high school experience”. The popular girls in her class constantly tease her for her weight and so after she loses said weight she decides to get her revenge on them by way of a beauty contest.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? This show has opened a can of worms that can be so damaging for young viewers. Young people are already susceptible to body issues and might try to copycat Patty’s method of losing weight. I think there’s a possibility that this show could cause eating disorders or body issues as people try to seek validation through weight loss.
It seems like the writers of the show have heard the recent backlash and have responded in kind.
What do you think? Is Insatiable problematic or will you give it a try?
In with time expressions
In is a preposition of time. It can be used with:
- I’m going on holiday in May.
- I’ll next see you at Christmas in December.
- I think we arrived some time in June.
- In winter, it’s cold.
- I think this year I’ll have my holiday in summer.
- Mummy, do the leaves fall off the tree in spring or in autumn?
- I finished school in 2000.
- The Titanic sank in 1912.
- I grew up in the 1930s.
Times of day
- I leave home in the morning.
- I get home in the evening.
- I’ll see you in the afternoon.
- I can’t sleep at night.
The past, present and future
- In the past, people died much younger.
- You need to learn to live in the present.
- In the future, you’ll learn everything from videos.