Monday, June 20, 2011


I really like the prefix re-. I find it simple and elegant. You attach it to any verb and it means to do it again. Unfortunately, that elegance is sometimes lacking.

In English, we have some words that have re- in them: words like 'represent' and 'reconsider'. Although these words originally were created by adding re-, they now exist as whole words (not words with a prefix added).

This can pose a problem, though. When I wanted to say that I could present my ideas again, I couldn't say that I was representing them; that would have meant something else entirely. So I did the next best thing and say that I was "re-presenting" them. that hyphen was all that was needed to explain that I was adding the prefix to 'present' instead of using a different word that wouldn't make sense (either that or it just looked like I made a typo while also using a nonsensical word).

Despite this bit of awkwardness in the language, there is a simple fix for it, which still remains fairly simple and elegant. Experiment with re-. See what you like about it. See what discoveries you make about language while playing with it. And let me know if you find something cool.

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