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Does a word like prepone Exist?

  1. Apr 2, 2016 #1
    I went to Merriam Webster and found word ''prepone" listed there.
    Early today in our English class our teacher said that word like prepone doesn't exist in english and we should use "in advance" as a substitute. But I have seen it being used by many people in conversations and in dictionary.
    Although it's an Indian origin I found out but once a word is in dictionary( Merriam Webster), could we use it in publications or articles?
     
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  3. Apr 2, 2016 #2

    PhanthomJay

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    I received a message awhile back from a person of Indian heritage that stated a meeting had been 'preponed' (moved up to an earlier time). I looked it up and it was in the English dictionary. You say you have heard it used often, but I had never heard it used. I would not use it in conversation since I believe few will understand it.
     
  4. Apr 2, 2016 #3

    Simon Bridge

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    A word exists in the English language if you want it to - and English infamously steals from other languages and even mixes words from several languages in ways that make purists of the language wince. Just use it as part of an English language sentence.
    To be officially a part of the language, it has to appear in a dictionary generally recognized as authoritative.
    You can use any word in a journal article that the journal editor is prepared to accept. This will vary from journal to journal. You will find that many legitimate words (usually deemed offensive or perjorative) are not permitted. If in doubt, do not use the word.

    But just because the word exists and people can find it in the dictionary does not mean that it is wise to use it.
    Shakespeare coined a lot of words which, now, only appear in his works - probably not a good idea to use them in discussions outside the field of literature.
    You should use words you can be sure your intended audience will understand and not find annoying - preferably without having to consult a dictionary.
    The rule of thumb is this: if you have something important to say, say it in as simple a language as you can manage: if the reader does not understand you, let it not be your fault.
    If you have nothing to say or it is not important to be understood, then say it how you like.
     
  5. Apr 2, 2016 #4
    Yes when my English teacher is around (:smile:) but would use it with all other people of my country.
     
  6. Apr 2, 2016 #5

    jtbell

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    It all depends on your audience. Here in the US, you would get odd looks if you were to talk about "spanners" in the context of automobile maintenance, or say something like "clear my doubts." :oldwink:
     
  7. Apr 2, 2016 #6

    SteamKing

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    Given the large vocabulary with which the English language is endowed and the wide geographical area over which it is spoken globally, there are going to be words used commonly by one set of English speakers in one area of the globe which may be unfamiliar or unusual to other sets of English speakers elsewhere.

    Although mostly intelligible to one another, groups speaking English in the UK, North America. Australia and NZ, and the Indian subcontinent may use the same words differently, and each group may frequently use some words which are not used by the other groups.

    For example, in the UK, a "carriageway" refers to a road or highway, but it is quite uncommon to refer to a "carriageway" in the U.S. The U.S. has "two-lane" roads or "four-lane" roads, for example, but no single or dual carriageways.
     
  8. Apr 2, 2016 #7

    Simon Bridge

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    There are lots of words like that - jargon words for example, or words that are culturally local.

    Note: "prepose" comes to English from Latin via French (back in 15th c) and means, in English, to place an element or word in front of another.
    So I may set up a lens system then prepose a filter... you may also interpose and postpose. Interpose is more usual.

    I had fun telling an americac woman I intended to wear my shorts to the beach.
     
  9. Apr 2, 2016 #8

    jtbell

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    Getting back to the original question, I would not use "prepone" in writing for a global audience. I've never seen it used in the US. I think most people here would figure out the intended meaning from the context, but it would "stick out like a sore thumb."
     
  10. Apr 2, 2016 #9
    Thanks for letting light fall on this. I would never have thought that prepone is not genuine globally.
     
  11. Apr 2, 2016 #10
    From a quick search on Google, prepone is prominently an Indian word.

     
  12. Apr 2, 2016 #11
    This site agrees:

    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/is-“prepone”-a-word/

    I'm a U.S. citizen and have never encountered the word before this thread, for whatever that's worth.
     
  13. Apr 2, 2016 #12

    collinsmark

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    Some general guidelines of good writing are:

    1. Keep your audience in mind.
    2. Try to convey your thoughts with as few words as possible, while still conveying your thoughts. If a single, longer word is more concise and successfully communicates your thought, and would otherwise take many smaller words (or even several sentences), use the longer word.
    3. Don't use words so obscure that your readers must scramble for a dictionary. (Remember, you word has to be "successful" at communicating your thought).
    4. If a short, simple word communicates the idea just as well as a longer word, use the shorter word. ​

    Guideline 3 is most relevant to this thread. If you send your readers scrambling for a dictionary, you've failed to communicate your thought, and thus also failed at guidelines 1 and 2 in the process.

    The general idea is to pack as much relevant information in your thoughts into as little writing as possible that successfully communicates your thoughts. The epitome of this is poetry. A good poem will pack a huge amount of information into a tiny space.

    An opposite of this is using big words just for the sake of using big words. This violates guideline 4 and is a hallmark of bad poetry.

    And perhaps the golden rule for good writing, for which all the above rules are based, is

    Make your writing easy for your readers to read.​

    That's also where good grammar, spelling, capitalization and punctuation fit it. Your goal is not to make your writing easy for you to write; rather it is to make your writing easy for your readers to read. Achieving this goal often takes considerable effort by the writer. But if you want people to read what you write, the effort is worth it.
     
  14. Apr 4, 2016 #13

    Simon Bridge

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    Oh I messed up by putting a typo into an etymology dictionary ... prepone comes from English from the 1970's, made up to juxtapose with "postpone".
    Back to "too regionally specific".

    Niven's Laws for writers seems appropriate here:
    http://www.larryniven.net/stories/nivens_laws.shtml

    Another example of a regional issue with accepted language ... Stephen Fry describes his confusion when an American instructs him to put his John Hancock on a contract. He'd never heard the phrase before and, considering it's similarity to some English euphemisms, and the way English comics will invent euphemisms at the drop of a proverbial, he was unsure he'd heard it right.
     
  15. Apr 5, 2016 #14
    Collinsmark, I've noticed you are good at explaining things and giving them structure. It can be seen here, in the thread Around the world and Beautiful equation where you managed to explain why your equation is beautiful despite the fact it made no sense to me when I looked at it first. You would be a great teacher! (maybe you already are)
     
  16. Apr 9, 2016 #15

    epenguin

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    Indian origin? Do you mean in the sense of Amerindian? Where in some place it could have found its way via Spanish?

    preponer
    TRANSITIVE VERB
    to place before
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  17. Apr 9, 2016 #16

    PhanthomJay

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    The word is primarily used by English speaking persons born and schooled in
    India , a country in South Asia.
     
  18. Apr 12, 2016 #17

    davenn

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    And I have never heard it used in Australia or New Zealand


    Dave
     
  19. Apr 12, 2016 #18

    epenguin

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    It is reassuring to hear it is still there. :oldcool:
     
  20. Apr 17, 2016 #19
  21. Apr 18, 2016 #20

    PhanthomJay

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    Yes, true. Many English words are borrowed from Latin. I'd to see Latin made a mandatory subject in schools.

    But the use of the word 'prepone' in modern times is primarily confined to English speaking folks from India. I just noticed that the OP is a student from India.

    For a number of years now on Patriots/Marathon day, which is today, the Red Sox baseball game has been preponed to an unusual morning start instead of a typical afternoon or evening start, if that sentence makes any sense.
     
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