Word of the day: onwards

Word of the day today is my favourite word. I might say that again in future posts, but this is the time I really mean it, alright?

We can clearly break it down into two things. Firstly, the ‘on’ of continuation. Fans of phrasal verbs will have seen many examples: go on, carry on, keep on, walk on and so on.

Incidentally, using ‘and so on’ or ‘and so forth’ are tip-top ways of avoiding the use of suspension points ….err….not really advisable for a more formal style of writing, you know?

Onwards with this wonderful word then. The ‘ward’ bit is an adjective or adverb suffix meaning going in a specific direction or toward(s) a specific point. And the good news is that the final ‘s’ is your choice in the case of the adverbs we’re dealing with. By way of example, fans of fun facts will already know that windows in the UK normally open outward(s) while here in Spain they open inward(s). Fascinating.

Onward! Right, this is the important bit. Life can throw some terrible things at us. I know that I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know there. But my favourite word is my favourite word because it’s so simple and obvious in both where it comes from and where it will take us. In spite of it all, we pick up the pieces and on we go.

Hold on! Shouldn’t that be ‘we go on’ and not ‘on we go’? ‘Have you no respect for word order?’, I hear you cry. Well, that’s a thing called ‘fronting’, where part of a sentence is moved from its normal position to, no surprise, the front. You might want to do this for reasons of special emphasis or dramatic effect. ‘Up the mountain they climbed’….’down came the rain at the midsummer music festival’, and so on.

You know when people are talking and they just don’t stop when probably they should? That’s when people go on and on…blah, blah, blah, «….errrr, can we talk about something other than adverbs, please, and no, no, not the monarchy either!»

That’s my cue to shut up and I will. But we can wind it up* with this fantastic song ‘On and On’ by Summer Fiction from the record ‘Himalaya’.

Onwards and upwards.

*It’s worth remembering that in the same way as ‘on’ can give a general meaning, so can ‘up’. It can transmit the idea of completion, totally done with, finishing… When you were a kid you were often told to eat up your vegetables, the bar’s closing so we’ll have to drink up. And what was it I was supposed to do right now? Oh yeah – wind up the post and shut up. :))

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