Tuesday, September 13, 2005


They have been there ever since, but very few ever realised they were there. They have been used countless times with very few people realising what has been happening. Fat chance you knew about this before reading it in my blog. Slim chance you've never heard about it though, if you like reading a lot.

And yes, I just used an example of them in the earlier paragraph.

There are many words out there which strangely are easy to comprehend in more than one way, and yet do not often cause confusion to erupt unless read with the scrutiny that comes with being armed with the awareness of this phenomenon.

Take for instance this example:
"She noticed a tear on the paper and wondered who removed the upper-right corner of the dedication page."

and compare it to
"He slid his hand across her cheek, wiping away the tear that had precariously clung to her eyelashes."

The word in question is TEAR.
When written, how exactly does one know if it was meant to be read as TARE or TEER? When verbally spoken, the distinctions are not hard to make. But when written down, the distinction becomes an unconscious game of contextual clues.

A few more examples:
"The wound was bleeding terribly. Jody grabbed her extra sock and wound it over the open gash."

"The hobo could not refuse the refuse offered to him."

"The object she held in her hand was something her husband did not feel comfortable with. Each time she would try to bring it with them to bed, he would object."

"The dove dove down towards the buffet table ready to buffet the first sweet morsel it could find to the ground."

Fun eh? They're spelled the same way, yet pronounced with some differences and have very largely different meanings.

But if you think that's strange and bad, realise that there's an even more interesting word twist that occurs that few notice. There are words that actually mean contradictory meanings!

Take for instance:
"She clipped her hair with the scissors she found, then clipped what was left with the small blue plastic butterfly she loved to wear."
Clipped meant both to "remove" and to "attach"

"The detective dusted the place for fingerprints, worried that the criminal dusted the place well before leaving."
Dusted means both to "remove dust" and to "apply dust to an area"

"The speedster ran fast towards the opponent and entangled him with the length of rope he had in his hands. The villain, helf fast to the lightpost, surrendered quietly."
Fast can mean both quick and incapable of motion.

Funny how words can be like that, eh?
And frightening how there are groups and individuals out there who read things and take everything in verbatim, word for word... without being aware that even if something has retained 100% of its meaning and intent after countless revisions, translations, and rewriting, the very words that have been retained might actually mean something else or mean something absolutely contrary in the way they were intended to be used.

Nikki Alfar
Tobie Abad
Gabby Lee
Andre Mischa Cleofe
Cathy delos Santos


  1. Tobie. No banana. Hehe. that's like 50 tickles na.

  2. Egad.. you're right!
    Argh! I failed!

    Will make it up with a banana post. Promise!



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