Beware The Magical "May"
Thursday/September/03 2009 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
-- Limiting fructose MAY boost weight loss, UT Southwestern researcher reports
-- Sleep aberration MAY play role in near-death experience
-- Epilepsy drug in pregnancy MAY lower child's IQ
These are all actual headlines in recent medical news stories.
The word may is an expression of possibility. May is one of those words that can actually be an antonym of itself. To say something may happen is to admit at the same time that it may not happen.
The headlines above look newsworthy, yet, because they can also mean the very opposite of what they state, they could be interpreted as meaning nothing at all.
Words Have Precise Meanings
We have to be careful when in conversations in the Apocalypse. As Francisco d'Anconia reminded us in Atlas Shrugged, words have precise meanings. Where confusion can take root, it will.
Somewhat is another one of those squirrelly words.
"I'm somewhat disappointed by your behavior."
Somewhat? Does that mean you're very disappointed? If the emphasis was on the "somewhat," the problem could be pretty serious. But if the emphasis is on "disappointed," it suggests a pretty mild rebuke.
Pretty?! How the heck did pretty get to be an adverb?
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