It’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s partially because I think most of my thoughts are only amusing to me, but mostly because I’ve been incredibly busy.
A while ago I was talking to my friend Mike about words, and how we need to invent a new one related to “will” as in “will do”. My thought at the time was about how there are different “degrees” of meaning behind similar words. These varying degrees also change based on who you talk to. We all have that friend who says “I will show up” and you know they’re not coming. The word “will” is so abused in these cases. It should be reserved for the cases when a person doesn’t just want to do something, but they have fully committed themselves to it. In general, I find that things in life are much easier when we just do them or don’t do them.
I say all this because I was looking up the origin of a word the other day and found this exact concept of varying degrees of words on Dictionary.com. It even gives examples to show the differences:
Decide, resolve, determine imply settling upon a purpose and being able to adhere to it.
To decide is to make
up one’s mind as to what shall be done and the way to do it: He decided to go today.
To resolve is to show firmness of purpose: He resolved to ask for a promotion.
To determine is to make up one’s mind and then to stick to a fixed or settled purpose: determined to maintain his position at all costs.
The funny thing is the sequence of usage the words:
- Determine: first used between 1325 and 1375
- Resolve: first used between 1325 and 1375
- Decide: first used between 1350 and 1400
So basically, we started with the definite words and then we went soft with “decide”. I determined I will bring back the word determine! Let’s stop deciding, or even resolving to do things. Let’s determine to do things. Or as Yoda would say, “Do or do not. There is no try.”