Switch Itch

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Co-Worker: Let me itch myself.

We: Don't you mean Scratch? You scratch an itch, right? You don't itch an itch or else it'll get itchier.

[Co-Worker stares blankly]

We: It's like when people say Gross when they mean Scary, right?

Well, maybe they're talking about blood and guts and stuff like that.

We: No, no, when there's no blood or gore--when the emotion they're feeling is clearly Fear, and instead of saying, "Yikes!" or "Ahh!" they say, "Gross!"

Co-Worker: Okay...

We: But substituting Scratch with Itch is even worse, right? Because they have opposite meanings. What sense is it to have the noun mean one thing and the verb its opposite?

Co-Worker: Right.