U: The Power of a Prefix with Un

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Nope. I have nothing to do with post. I'm just a bird...UNrelated. Ha! Take that, "bird brain."

Nope. I have nothing to do with post. I’m just a bird…UNrelated. Ha! Take that, “bird brain.”

Quick reminder, if you need a brain massage, Aunty Ida is only 99 cents for a limited time! Warning: she practices deep tissue massage. Deep, deep tissue.

***

Done. Told. Easy.

Undone. Untold. Uneasy.

There’s something in the prefix “un” that takes a very hard, concrete word and softens the edges, releases the borders until it’s more nebulous. Take the first word in that series, “done.”

Feel how compact it is. In that single syllable, there’s completion. Done.

But stick “un” in front of it, and suddenly everything that was sure is now…unsure. Undone. Not a hint of how or how much, just that something that was whole is not anymore. Someone who was whole isn’t anymore. Undone.

“Told” and “easy” do the same. Told is one of those words without equivocation, it even has its when built in. Yet when “un” attaches to it, it morphs into something else entirely. Untold isn’t even the opposite of told, it’s its own independent creature. And when you think about it, makes sense, because “told” is so firm, it cannot be reversed. Untold can contain the universe.

Easy is soft and laid-back, but is still firm about it. There’s no argument with easy. Easy is as it is, and the world is smoother for it.

But uneasy.

Uneasy fills the corners full of shadows. Uneasy sends the clouds across the sun on an otherwise bright day. Uneasy twists the fine into something that isn’t.

Just two little letters can turn a word inside out and twist it into something entirely new. That is the mighty power of “un.”

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40 thoughts on “U: The Power of a Prefix with Un

  1. Funny, I always think of ‘un’ as connoting an opposite, but as your post shows, that is definitely untrue! (And there is another – untrue seems different than ‘lie,’ which would be the immediate opposite of true/truth).

  2. This was quite a thought-provoking post! You’re right, untold holds so much more than just ‘hasn’t been told yet’. It holds the rest of the story and more.

    Thanks for such an inspiring post and for commenting on my blog at PS Annie!

    Have a blessed day. 🙂

    • Thanks so much! And given that language is your business…

      I love how subtle choice of word can be, but it gives texture to the whole sentence or idea.

      Also thanks for stopping by again so that I didn’t have to dig through to find you!

  3. My favorite word is undone, as in undoing my shoe laces. I love to get home and take off my shoes. I would not want to go barefoot in public, but I love have unshod feet at home. Did I get enough un words in there?

    • Thanks! I can’t imagine what English is like for a non-native speaker, it’s difficult enough for native ones! (And yes, it would be “excellently” as it’s the adverb modifying the verb “described.” Poor adverbs get no love).

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