25 June 2009

Opposite Prepositions

The other day, Walker and I were discussing... something...

and he said: "Are you up?" and I said: "I'm down."
Are you up [for it]?
I'm down [with that].
This was completely unplanned and hilarity ensued.

I like prepositions that are literal opposites, but can be used to mean the same thing.
Such as:

My mom and I were talking the other day:
Mom: Don't forget to fill up that form.
Me: It's "fill out", mom.
Mom: Fill up, fill in, fill out--I never know.
And she was so right! Those, in certain contexts, all work. Even in the same scenario of "the form," both fill in and fill out would work.

More on prepositions later.

In the meantime, Andrew said he learned a new one the other day. Andrew?


Andw said...

We discussed this and considered that "fill up that form" might be a poetic expression of intensely vigorous secretarial work, and you pointed out that coming from you rather than your mother (i.e. without the Mexican accent), people would accept it as an innovation rather than a mistake.

I am still hunting for that word-- it is somewhere in the Project Gutenberg translation of Antigone. I have to reread it anyway, so I'll track it down. Just glancing through did not do the job, and I only remember the first letter.

This comment's word is "feiasath," a lie told to deceive the listener into thinking the speaker has supernatural knowledge.

Andw said...

The preposition I told you of is "anent." It means "against." You can see why it disappeared, but interesting nevertheless. Used as late as the 1910s by a translator of ancient Greek tragedies at least, who might have favored archaic terms.