Philosophy, Thinking, Wisdom, Writing

Adverb Power

Today is one of those days when the weather is good and there’s not much work to do (even if you wanted to do it). So, I took a walk outside and drove out to get lunch instead of staying indoors. The weather is beautiful.

Anyway, on my walk I thought about the power of words. I recently had a research paper accepted. The funny point about this is that the acceptance letter had this as a line:

“Your paper is potentially suitable…”. In lawyer speak, this means that we’ve accepted your paper under certain conditions. In my case, these are whether I appropriately make the minor grammatical corrections and that the co-authors of the paper agree to sign off on the final copy (this is a separate contractual document). 

The keyword here is “potentially”, which is an adverb and modifies the verb “is”. That statement has a very different meaning without the word potentially. It would be stated like so: “Your paper IS suitable…”.

I kind of like the utility of the word “potentially”. It gives me the tools to write really provocative sentences; for example:

This work is potentially groundbreaking.

I have a potentially fantastic chance of winning the noble prize.

And, so on…

This blog post has potentially ended–


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