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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fun with semantics

Today I'm going to look at words that are similar in meaning but have entirely different effects.
Take vicious and mean, for example. Taken at face value, both tend to have a negative connotation attached to them. In the right context , they can also be a very complimentary, as in a vicious left hook or a mean blackberry pie.
Cheap is a bit trickier though. Cheap seats are not on everybody's preferred list, nor is cheap wine. But find somewhere with cheap gas and you're golden. A lot of it has to do with context: Those are some cheap speakers. That's not too impressive, is it? I got these speakers at a really cheap price. Now that's more like it, you're a bleeping hero. And where would you rather stay, a cheap motel, or an inexpensive hotel? I guess that would depend on what you planned on doing there.
I'm sure there are countless others, but I'm not writing this to get my Masters in English.

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