Tuesday, December 2, 2008


"Be" is probably the most common word in the English language. Really, I have no scientific basis for that, but seeing as we're taught in English classes from 7th grade to kill it in our writing, and therefore it must be bad, I'm assuming it's overused a tiny bit.

I mean, just look at it. Stare at the word "be" <--- right there, for ten seconds. It begins to look really weird. I start to despise it. It's just ugly. Is it even English? Who ever thought to put the letters b and e together to make a word that means... well, what does it even mean? If we isolate words, namely short words, what are they to us now? Be means nothing to me, nothing at all. I'm not exaggerating.

I recall my 8th grade literature teacher telling our class a story of when she was asked how to spell "of" and she replied "o-v," dead confident that she was correct. I'm pretty sure she was, too. Why would you put o and f together. F makes a ffff sound. Why isn't it off? With lack of context in the form of other words surrounding the word "of," is there any right way to do anything with it, like spell it? The word "of" as simply a word means nothing to me. An object, idea, noun, has to be of some other noun. Wait, now I'm just confusing myself. If it has to be, but "be" means nothing, how do I even decipher anything written, spoken, or communicated with language in general?

My brother wrote an essay about "strings" of words for his college essay a few years back. I have not read it myself (though I probably could hack into this computer and find it since he typed it, I'm sure, on this very keyboard), but I can say that the main point was that words are nothing by themselves, but they take on meaning when we connect them into coherent (usually) phrases or sentences.

Even if I say a combination of words that is probably nonsense, such as
blue llama applesauce potato salad pancake (shut up, I'm hungry, so I'm thinking of food), just the mere fact that I put six words together gives them some context in itself.
I guess pancake would mean something alone. I sure think, though, that a blue llama applesauce potato salad pancake is a lot cooler, just like "to be or not to be, that is the question..." is cooler than the word "be."

I don't even know what I'm trying to say. But that's the point.

Sidenote: My thesaurus defines "word" was "unit of language." What the &^%* is a UNIT of language?

1 comment:

Sandra said...

You're so right... it sometimes scares me to think of how many words we exchange every day in wriring and in speech, and how many important and unimportant things are symbolized by these little strings of characters, which really mean nothing at all... just think, by writing a blog, you're setting down your thoughts in the form of words. Someone's life work might be a novel or a history--and it's all just words. A human is something very tangible and very important, but words by themselves are nothing. In ten thousand years, our styrofoam and maybe our bones will still be here, but all of our words will have returned to the meaninglessness from which they came...