Category Archives: language

The Burning Question

In the finest tradition of the Queen’s English wherein we were schooled, an INFLAMMABLE substance was something that could catch fire.  Sadly, over the years, English underwent multiple puny mutilations, and somehow INFLAMMABLE became equated with something that cannot burn or cannot be set ablaze!

And so, the word FLAMMABLE came into popular and legitimate use.  What an irony!

In real life, I always face an internal tussle, “Do I stick to traditional correctness, or go with the flow?” I wonder how many people (especially the older folks) experience the same struggle.

Ah ha!  I have found a way out: nowadays, I use the word COMBUSTIBLE to douse the burning question…I mean no one would dare say something that burns is INCOMBUSTIBLE, right?  I thought that was clever.