What I said…

I was thinking about how strange and complicated English is. I pity people trying to learn it.

Case in Point: hot v cool

a) That’s a hot outfit.

b) That’s a cool outfit.

What’s the difference? Sure, a hot outfit is probably more sexy than a cool outfit, but not always so. And a cool outfit is probably more situation/event-appropriate than a hot outfit, but not always so. Either way, they’re both roughly “good”.

I can even say “hotsexycool” and you’ll know what I mean – but imagine the poor ESL person.

Case in Point: no v yes

a) My baby loves me and that ain’t no lie. No, no, no…

b) My baby loves me and that ain’t no lie. Yeah, yeah, yeah…

So, whatever, my baby loves me. But how is it that I can emphasize using no or yes (or yeah – so more complicated, cuz then one has to figure out when “yes” and when “yeah”)? Nitty-gritty, the former emphasizes the second coordinate clause, and the latter emphasizes the first. Either way, my baby loves me.

Case in Point: all those crazy nouns and verbs
You know the ones. Rather than take advantage of the absolute bevy of precise and colourful verbs, we’ve seen fit to take a few easy ones and make them mean multiple actions.

a) goes: He goes to school. He goes, “My baby loves me.” He’s not sure where the fork goes. 20% of that goes to charity. Their hatred goes back to kindergarten. [There's a sense of movement or placement in all of these, but still. Aren't we better than this?]

b) drives: She drives a car every day. That song drives me crazy. She drives home her point. She drives the freeway every day. [Seriously, I can drive a car AND a freeway? Am I using the car to drive home the point?]

c) gets: He gets three meals a day. He gets me, you know? He gets drunk every Friday. He gets groceries at the local supermarket. He gets home at 6pm most nights. [Bad verb that implies passive agency sometimes, and active agency at others.]

Don’t get me started on our love of making nouns of verbs and verbs of nouns. Or words that are both a verb and a noun. Or biztalk [egad].