Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gerunds, Etc.

Here's another one I forgot to mention last night. Why can you say, "It was changed from a blessing to a curse?" but not "It was changed from a cursing to a bless?" Why is blessing a gerund and curse not?


Cliff said...

The wonderful arbitrariness of English. :)

Jeff said...

I'm trying to decide if this implies something about our views of curses and blessings.
When I think about blessings I think about things coming my way. (of varying degrees of shallowness.) To be blessed is to recieve something from a menu of options health, wealth, happiness, money, good fodd.
Perhaps it's just me, but when I think about curses I think about being deprived of things: stuff is taken away.
I don't know if that's connected to the "ing" thing or not. But it also occurs to me that we use the word "cursing" to mean an action (both swearing or the act of bringing about curses on people.)

We'd be less likely to use blessing to describe the act of "casting" good things on people.

Kathy said...

I agree with Cliff: the wonderful arbitrariness of English. Thankfully, every language has its inconsistencies, so we're not alone in it!