Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Later Today


I arranged by telephone to meet Mrs Malaprop for a curry tomorrow night. At the end of the call I said "Good bye" (as it was spoken I didn't even have to think about the one-word-or-two dilemma). She said "See you later" and hung up.

This valediction made me think that she had misunderstood the arrangement and was coming for a curry tonight. So I sent her an e-mail which ran:

You said "see you later" did you mean "tomorrow"?

To which she sent the lapidary and laconic response:

Yes. That is later.

This threw me into terrible bewilderment as to me later means later today. Of course things can happen "a few years later", but I always use that plain, naked, unadorned later to mean "before bedtime". Certainly if somebody told me that we were going to the cinema later, that wouldn't mean June. But perhaps it's me that's mad and Mrs Malaprop who controls the heights of normality.

I have also never been quite certain whether the phrase "You'll be late for your own funeral" contains an intentional pun.
 

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