The last post was heavy stuff, so here’s a fun one!
In my penultimate post I mentioned my favourite words. Later I realised I had omitted one: yet.
Yet is the crème de la crème of conjunctions, a feminine sophisticate. Connoting a change of mood, it sets the reader or listener up for something new in a “tingly” way, quite unlike her blunt brother-in-law but. She is the verbal equivalent of a transitional musical chord, modulating emotion rather than keys. Preceded by the everyday and prosaic and, and followed by the whimsical ellipsis (can I call three dots a three-letter word?), she radiates nostalgia, longing, saudade… And yet…
Used as an adverb and preceded by not, yet transmutes into the perfect tool with which to torture impatient children: not yet!
Thinking about yet led me to reflect on other three-letter words. I realised that some of the most important concepts are expressed by them: yes, sex, now, joy, fun, god, mum, dad, bad, mad, sad …
Then I saw that there were whole families: the ad family (bad, cad, dad, fad, gad…), the et family, the od family, the ag family, the og family, the at family, the ot family, etc.
To write about all of these words in depth is the work of a lexicographer. Let me pick just a few jewels and tell you what I know and feel. In Part II I shall write about bot, dog, now and set.