Thursday, 7 January 2010

Could Consider Thinking About

It may simply be me, but in my precaffeinated trance this morning I read that:

A third of professors could move abroad because of government plans...

...and thought for a moment that that two thirds of professors had had their passports confiscated. Could is an awkward word ambiguously spanning possibility and likelihood. One can as easily say "I could, but I don't want to" as "I could do with a drink". The same goes for consider as in "The moral philosopher looked at his wife and considered suicide." Or indeed thinking about, as in "The efficiency expert thought about taking the day off."

An academic and his son trying to emigrate

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