Disheveled prose strikes me as discombobulating. So I strive for heveledness so that you and I may be combobbed. I find that eptness with words makes for gruntled readers.
But it's tough. The English language is mune to peril.
Elementary school teachers - many of whom became quite disheveled in the process - attempted to drill the facts of prefixes into us from our earliest schooling.
Burton Cole, sadly, at his heveled best.
"If the word 'true' means correct," they told us, "then attaching the prefix 'un' in front of it to form the word 'untrue' now means that a thing is wrong."
"Unreal!" we marveled.
"Indubitably," the teacher said.
We dubitabled it. Turns out the rules of prefixes aren't quite bunk. Let us debunk the notion. Otherwise, inflammable should mean a thing isn't flammable. Instead, the words mean both can go up in flames, just like language logic.
The other day, dictionary.com proffered (I think that means "offered-plus") a variety of examples of common words that aren't so common or just plain nonsensical when stripped of prefix.
We can be dejected, for example, or injected. But who among us is just plain jected?
Is a deliberate person petuous? If you have no effect, is that a pinge?
You and I discussed some of these language quandaries in previous "Burt's Eye View" profferings - or possible offerings. From the comments, I judge they plussed some normally nonplussed readers. They were chalanting all over their nonchalance.
Well, here we go again. You know what it is to miss something. So would it be remiss to blow it again? Or should we dismiss that thought - which might mean to not miss it at all.
If you can repeat and rejoice while doing so, why can you not peat and joice?
To postpone something is to put it off. It's what we procrastinators do. So would a concrastinator prepone the chore?
Wedding vows often include the line about how the couple shall cleave to one another. Cleave, of course, can mean both cling and cut apart - which, I suppose, could explain a 50-percent divorce rate.
A guy could become whelmed by such ponderings. I would say it's ineffable, but since we are speaking it, there has to be at least a dash of eff to it.
Researching this topic (actually, I only searched it, being too lazy to do it more than once) I stumbled across this excellent poem (would "cellent" be average?) attributed to J.H. Parker that sums it up:
A VERY DESCRIPT MAN
I am such a dolent man,
I eptly work each day;
My acts are all becilic,
I've just ane things to say.
My nerves are strung, my hair is kempt,
I'm gusting and I'm span:
I look with dain on everyone
And am a pudent man.
I travel cognito and make
A delible impression:
I overcome a slight chalance,
With gruntled self-possession.
My dignation would be great
If I should digent be:
I trust my vagance will bring
An astrous life for me.
There. Don't you feel all combobbed now?
----- Write, rewrite or overwrite Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday com or join the conversation on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.