English is nutty 2

If uplift is the same as lift up, why are upset and set up opposite in meaning?

 

Why are pertinent and impertinent, canny and uncanny, and famous and infamous neither opposites nor the same?

 

How can raise and raze and reckless and wreckless be opposites when each pair contains the same sound?

 

Why does six, seven, eight, and nine change to sixty, seventy, eighty, and ninety, but two, three, four, and five does not become twoty, threety, fourty, and fivety?

 

Why is first degree murder more serious than third degree murder but a third degree burn is more serious than a first degree burn?

 

How can a house simultaneously burn up and burn down?

 

How can you fill in a form by filling out a form?

 

How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while “quite a lot” and “quite a few” are alike?

 

Where are all those people who are spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly?

 

 

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About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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2 Responses to English is nutty 2

  1. pamela baker says:

    Why is it that these days, cool and hot mean the same thing ?

  2. Jack Payne says:

    Gosh. Rob. All these years–a whole working career to be exact–of writing (7,000,000 words in print), and here I never gave a second thought to English. Now, you come along and, with all of your provocative stuff, make me think I should go back to school and study English.

    Man, you sure know how to foist an inferiority complex on a guy.

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