Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Watch is Fast--I Have to Catch It



Welcome to the weird world of time, distance, and speed. Here we have three concepts that we can't see...well, okay, you can see distance up to a point. Beyond where we can see, we have to imagine how far away something is.


Let's just take a quick view at time today, and the various ways we've used to describe it. I'll try to cover a few basics before we run out of time. There should be time enough for that.


I'll get started now. When? Right now. Starting with 'when'. When do we want something?


'When' is one of those weird multiple-personality words. Depending on usage, it's adverb, conjunction, noun, or pronoun. Check out this site for more detail: http://partofspeech.org/what-part-of-speech-is-when/.


Its definition is elusive, as are many words relating to time. My old friends at Merriam-Webster struggle with a true definition, telling us how and where it's used rather than an actual definition. Here's an example: a) at or during the time that; b) just at the moment that; c) at any or every time that.


See what I mean? And that's the problem with time words--they're slippery. Take 'now'. It's either a) at the present time; b) in the next moment: very soon; or c) in the present situation.


Huh? Vague, right? Perhaps that's why we call in our other vague words, 'distance' and 'speed', to better describe time concepts. We have 'fast time' and 'slow time'; we talk about our clocks running fast or slow; we use distance to talk about a 'long stretch of time', or a 'short gap of time'. We'll also emotionally color time by talking about 'down time', 'happy times', 'sad times', and 'up times'.


Then (when?) we get into specific time periods: seconds, minutes, hours, years, centuries, and so on. But that's a topic for another time. When? Later?


For a related post, click on this link: http://writefromthegitgo.blogspot.com/2016/04/where-do-these-words-come-from.html


Keep writing, friends.

7 comments:

  1. I'm having the time of my afternoon, now.

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    1. Uh oh, I think I missed it. Your now was while ago. Unless it's still continuing.

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    2. If you're out of time, you make time. :-)

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  2. Was reading a very interesting article about Sperm Whale sonar when I encountered an odd bit of sentence construction. "...he was behind the advance". So you go back and forth 'eh?

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    Replies
    1. I think the Three Stooges did this trick. :-)

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