‘Un-‘: You Don’t Always Have to Be So Negative

When we were introduced to prefixes at school, cancel- is one of the first things we are taught, probably because the idea of ​​negation is relatively easy to understand.

to make clear

‘Unravel’ and ‘ravel’ both mean the same thing: “to make apart by or as if by separating the threads of.”

When it is prefixed with an adjective, cancel- almost always means “no.” A fruit that is unripe not yet ripe. That also applies to participative adjectives: a dish is intact not broken; it’s still intact. ONE unwashed the car has not hit the sponge.

But there is a specific kind of nothingness implied in these examples by cancel-, and that is, nothing is deleted, taken away, or changed. The state of things – the fruit, the dish or the car – does not change.

When it is prefixed with a verb, cancel- almost always means “to do the opposite” or “to deprive”. In this case, the prefixed word implies an act of change. Friend untie a shoelace that was previously tied; Friend open the package one package has been wrapped. Contrary to what was said above cancel- adjective, here the state of things is being changed in some way.

With some concepts, the concept of undo is humorously impossible. When you see something disgusting or horrifying, you can exclaim: “I wish I could Can not see that!”–means to knock vision out of your memory.The song title “Un-Break My Heart” represents this: you can’t really undo the act of breaking something, but it does. hint to restore to a previous intact state, while something unripe never ripe for a start.

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Where it gets interesting is in those cases when cancel- means something other than “no.” It’s right there in the dictionary, in the second homophone entry, meaning 3: “completely.”

Consider the following uses of as ice melts:

A propane torch is used to as ice melts Frozen pipes are believed to have caused the fire at a home on Gay Hill Road on Monday night. Amy Beth Preiss, Asbury Park Press (New Jersey), February 21, 2006

But it’s easier to buy frozen puffs at the supermarket, in sheets and preformed shells. Only as ice melts raw dough in your fridge, and you’re halfway to making anything from simple cheese straws to baked apples to the father of puff pastry creations, Beef Wellington.
News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.), December 7, 2005

These examples use as ice melts means “to change to an unfrozen state” or “to melt” – that’s exactly what the verb thaw has meant. How is it possible? as ice melts means the opposite of thaw?

To take another example, the verb easing:

With hands shaking with joy, Squers no loosening wire; and Smike, more likely dead than alive, were brought into the home and carefully locked in a cellar, until the moment Mr. Squeers deemed fit to operate on him, in the presence of ​of the whole school. Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby1839

easing here does not mean “tight”, but will be the opposite of easingbut “make loose.”

There are also to make clearlike what happens to a sweater when you pull the thread:

And on this trip of ours, when nothing else, he’s as busy with his fingers as ever: to make clear old Cape Horn hose, for the yarn used to make our wool coats… Herman Melville, Mardi: And a trip there1864

The verb forms its base, swearhas the same meaning:

But that afternoon he tattered thread from a sack, and he took some dough from his flour trumpet. He tied the dough to a piece of fabric with one end of the rope zipping in the dough. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie, 1935

Four wicker chairs stand side by side on the deep deck at the stern. Weathering and tattered and ragged, they’ve been carrying – since how long? – the women in summer dresses and the men in flannels go out to watch the sun go down. John Cheever, Wapshot Chronicles1954

Here are three cases in which a verb begins with cancel- means the same as, rather than negative, or the opposite of its root.

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And while it may seem annoyingly illogical when you’re used to treating it as a negative prefix in a non-rigorous way, this use cancel- is not as absurd as it seems.

In all three cases—as ice melts, easingAnd to make clear-the cancel- The form of the verb only comes into being after its root has been established in English.

And in all three cases, notably, the verb stem already connotes some kind of undo, an act of removing something from an already existing state (frozen, knotted, intact).

Instead of denying each action, the position of cancel- in front of these verb stems seems to reinforce the undoing action of each — so emphasize negative idea rather than to negate the verb stem itself.

Categories: Usage Notes
Source: vothisaucamau.edu.vn

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