inedible not unedible

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Emerson Squirl, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. Emerson Squirl

    Emerson Squirl Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2009

    Does anyone know why we say "inedible" and not "unedible"?
    It's kind of a burning question....but no one's life is on the line.
     
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  3. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jun 23, 2009

    There are a few prefixes that mean not - "Dis", "in", "un", "non" are a few of them.

    The prefix "in" assimilates to the letter after it, which is why we say illegal, irregular, immoral, etc., instead of inlegal.

    If you take that assimilation into account, "in" is probably a more common prefix than "un".
     
  4. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jun 23, 2009

    Yes, some other examples

    tractable -- intractable
    ept -- inept
    flammable --:whistle:
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 23, 2009

    Emerson, I've answered this in another thread you launched on the same topic.

    (This is an object lesson in why the forum has rules against multiple posts: it's easier to follow a discussion when it's in just one place.)
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 23, 2009

    As I note in that thread, 3Sons, in- in Latin can also mean 'in' or 'into' or 'on'. Inflammable comes from inflame, literally 'to get flame in or on'. Those who think this is illogical are invited to blame it on Latin, not English.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 23, 2009

    For the good of the order, I'll repeat my answer here:

    We say inedible for the same reason that we say

    inconceivable 'cannot be thought of'
    inevitable 'cannot be avoided'
    indisputable 'cannot be argued against'
    indisposed 'not well'
    indifferent 'not caring'
    insufferable 'cannot be endured'
    impartial 'not biased'
    illogical 'not logical'
    irreverent 'not reverent'

    - there is a Latin prefix in- that means 'not'. Edible 'can be eaten' is from Latin, and historically it has taken a Latin prefix rather than the Germanic negative prefix un-.

    (There's another Latin prefix in- that means 'in' or 'into' or 'on', as in inflame 'get heat on', inspire (literally 'breathe into'), indicate 'point (in)to', illuminate 'get light on'. This muddies the water a little but not a lot.)
     
  8. Emerson Squirl

    Emerson Squirl Rookie

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    Sorry for the multiple posts. This was an afterthought, but I figured I would have a better chance of receiving a response here.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 23, 2009

    Okay, so now you know.

    Veterans of A to Z tend to keep up by using the All Posts link for new posts in the upper right corner of this page: it brings up a list of every thread that's been launched or posted on, from most recent to least, and it's fairly easy to ignore threads one isn't interested in. I tend to work from the end forward.

    But is your original question now answered to your satisfaction, or can I clear up anything else?
     
  10. Anne wmcosuvamu

    Anne wmcosuvamu Companion

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    Jun 23, 2009

    TeacherGroupie, you're my hero. :wub:
     

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