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Dust to Dust

I’ve heard it said many times that the English language is a very difficult one to learn. I should know because I’m still learning it and I’m old. Just one example of this is the perplexing contronym. That would be the same word having opposite meanings. Why would anyone who sets out to invent a language think this is a good idea?

Here are some examples:

EXECUTE – meaning: to begin AND to end. Let’s use these in a sentence…

“I’m going to execute a completely flawless sentence.”

“I will do this right after I execute that pesky mosquito flying around my head.”

CUSTOM – meaning: the regular and expected AND the very special. Sentences please…

“It is the custom of people who live in the United States to celebrate July 4.”

“The custom fireworks made for this event are usually awesome!”

FIX – meaning: a problem AND a solution. See what I mean? This is hard!

“Sometimes I’m in a fix when it comes to ideas for writing a blog post.”

“I’m going to fix the English language with this one.”

LEFT – meaning: departed AND what remains. Geesh – really??

“I left my heart in San Francisco.”

“All that was left were the arteries and veins.”

BUCKLE – meaning: to fasten AND to let go.

“One, two - buckle my shoe.”

“If I forget to buckle my knee brace, my knee might buckle.” (If you are keeping score, I get two points for that one).

And the last one for today:

DUST – meaning: put small particles of stuff on AND take small particles of stuff off.

“I plan to dust the cake I’m making with powdered sugar.”

“Now I have to dust the table because I have powdered sugar everywhere.”

If the English language flummoxes you sometimes, you are in good company. But we will weather this storm together, whether we like it or not. Wait! What’s this?? Words that sound the same but are spelled differently?? I guess that is a topic for another day. *Sigh*

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