Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January is: “wood/would.” Use one, use both, use them any way you would like. Have fun!
Would is so much more civilized than should. “Would you…” is a polite query. “Should you…” has a bit more edge. It sounds riskier, a little judgemental. “You should…” are some of the most hateful phrases ever thought or uttered. We should get rid of most of the you shoulds; maybe put them behind a wall by writ of an executive order. Could often sounds wistful, tinged with melancholy. Things you could have done, but didn’t, and maybe should have, or you would have, given half a chance. Woulda coulda shoulda. You can Google that old saw and get lots of really touchy-feely Internet quasi-inspirational images, suitable for framing on Facebook.
In typing those words though, I wonder about that L in there. What’s that about? Since I have Google open (like it is a long way to get up and go turn on Teh Googles), let’s just look that up. What ever did we do before Google? Oh, I know, we just made shit up and pretended. Now we look shit up and pretend we knew it all along, and here’s the cool part, people believe it! Learn to Google quickly in IM and your perceived IQ gets megawattage.
Ah, Interwebs, when you aren’t making us stupid and crazy, you are a wondrous thing. There seems to be an Online Etymology Dictionary, and I will blindly believe the entry for would as: Old English wolde, past tense and past subjunctive of willan “to will.” Would-be (adj.) “wishing to be, vainly pretending” is first recorded c. 1300.
Cool, while that explains the L, it leads one to ask, “Then why is there a U in it?” And if this isn’t a true stream of consciousness ramble, then I don’t know what is. Should has an L in it for similar reasons “c. 1200, from Old English sceolde, past tense of sceal” but that still doesn’t answer about the U. At first could just doesn’t seem to fit at all with “Old English cuðe, past tense of cunnan “to be able” until you read the last bit, “The unetymological -l- was added 15c.-16c. on model of would, should, where it is historical.” Wait. Wut? So, the L was added to could so that it would line up with would and should, got that. It reads like there is a historical reference for this happening. So how is that unetymological? Isn’t that the etymology of the thing? Damn you Interwebs and Googles! This is the kind of thing that has me sitting in front of the monitor for way too long into the night.
What is it with the English and their extra U’s?