The English language is complex, often logical and illogical, and, as with many languages, can be further confounded by culture, dialect, and its passing from generation to generation. I often playfully argue with my next-door neighbor about whether irregardless is a word. I have found myself referencing the dictionary while she points out the countless movies and television programs in which the word has been used. (Note: I may have just won the argument by running this column through spell check. Yes!)
The many complexities and nuances of the language has captivated comedians like Larry David and the late George Carlin. Carlin has a classic routine where he discusses the “irregularities” of the language just within the confines of a situation we are all most likely familiar with, boarding an airplane. In one portion of the standard boarding announcements, the crew will ask passengers to “get ‘on’ the plane.” Carlin remarks, “No, thank you, I’ll be getting ‘in’ the plane.”
There are quite a few forums on the internet dedicated to the question of proper usage of “in, on, or at” and what situations dictate the use of which word.
For instance, should we use the phrase “at the corner, on the corner, or in the corner?” Think about it for a moment. It seems that the correct answer follows logic, but also perspective. If you were not physically there, you would tell a friend to meet you “at” the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue. If you were already there, you would say you are “on” the corner of Main and Third.
Think about when you punish a child—or for some, even an adult. You might send them to the corner, saying, “Go stand ‘in’ the corner.” When we are inside the confines of the corner, we say “in.” If we were on the outside of the room, or the open air, we would say “at.” Not to mention that when we are near a corner with obstructions such as buildings, perhaps giving directions to a fellow traveler, we would send them “around” the corner.
The corner is not just limited to the physical and how we apply language to it. It is also evident in the theoretical, abstract, or intangible. In business, economics, engineering, and even emotion, we often refer to the corner, or the intersection of two things or points. Many times this intersection is the indication of “where we want to be.”
In economics, the charting of the intersection of supply and demand reveals the best price for a product. Businesses often plot information such as time and productivity looking for that perfect “intersection” to help guide their operations. And, I’m sure we all know, the commonality of the use of the x-, y-axis for an engineer.
The corner or intersection is talked about with the intangible as well. It is often asked, what is at the corner of the body and soul, work and life, or happiness and possessions?
But for more on what lies “At the Corner of Digital Twin and Perfect Part,” read Scott Everling’s article and check out everything else we have to offer in this month’s Quality.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!