I was talking to G during a life coaching session, and the topic of ‘Opposites’ came up. Specifically, the use of ‘Opposites’ to swap out parts of a sentence to gain more understanding of the sentence, the topic, or perhaps something else.
There are a number of different ways one can swap out parts of a sentence. I’ll go in approximately the order I use them, but the fun ones are at the bottom. 😀
We will use a famous* sentence to illustrate:
“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.”
First, we can start by swapping parts of the sentence:
– Spoonerisms swap the first characters or syllables of words, such as ‘linc and zead’ for ‘zinc and lead’, or ‘The quick frown box jumped over the dazy logs’, which is nonsensical, but highly creative, especially if you drew it.
– One can swap words, swapping the subject and object: (‘The quick brown dogs jumped over the lazy fox.’), or descriptive words with nouns: (‘The quick brown dogs jumped over the foxy laze.’) This second one could be nonsensical, but could also refer to lasers, which could trigger other thoughts or creativity in the listener.
– We can completely swap the object half of the sentence: (‘The lazy dogs jumped over the quick brown fox’)
– We can move words around and change their parts of speech: (‘The brown fox quickly jumped over the lazy dogs’), in this case changing the meaning from descriptive/innate (quick fox) to intent (fox quickly).
There are more ways to do this, but they are generally more complex combinations of the above.
Second, we can remove parts of the sentence:
– ‘The brown fox.’
– ‘The fox jumped over the dog.’
– ‘The quickly.’
Third, we can change the cultural referent of the sentence or parts of the sentence:
– ‘The swift vulpine soared over the meddlesome cur.’
– If I knew enough Japanese, I could give examples of different levels of formality here.
Fourthly, we can do what I can only describe as ‘Word Rotation’, where you chose a word in the sentence, and rotate about one of the axes that the word is on, similar to a gimbal or leather punch.
– You can rotate animal species, such as ‘the quick brown bear jumped over the lazy cat’
– You can rotate action words
– You can rotate tightly or loosely:
– Tight: Dog, cat, mouse, hamster
– Loose: Dog, horse, panda, bear**
– Absurd: Dog, mushroom, amphioxus, pool table
– You can rotate senses*** (my favourite, although ‘propriocept’ is not a very good verb.)
– You can take a sub-word and rotate it. This one is clbuttic.
– You can rotate more than once (although this is only very subtly different from rotating once more loosely).
– You can exchange words or word parts for the ‘more formal’ version: ‘Mark my words!’ becomes ‘Marcus my words!’
– Rotation also works with antonyms.
Basically, any way you could #hashtag a word in a sentence, and then replace that word with a different word that also qualified for that #hashtag.
Join us next time, when we explore the mysteries of %tags, and try to figure out whether a single open bracket or closed bracket is more annoying. As always, let me know what you think in the comments below!
*This sentence was commonly used to test typewriters, as it uses each of the letters in the alphabet and is reasonably short and easy to remember.
***Space Quest IV had an icon which alternately allowed you to look, touch, or taste objects. It’s possible this is where my analogy of rotation comes from.