At some point in the last few days I was writing about spelling, and a thought recurred to me: is it a coincidence that the verb to spell (as in, How do you spell that word?), and the noun spell (as in magic spell) are identical?
This time I’ve decided to pursue this line of inquiry, and the answer is basically: No, it’s not just a coincidence!
Have you ever given someone your word? Is your word your bond? Why specifically do we use these expressions when we talk about promises? What is it about a word that’s so important that we can trust it so much? I suppose it makes an idea more concrete. We can think that we want to do something for someone, but what good is it until we transform that thought into a word either by speaking it or writing it down. Once the thought’s out in the world we’re committed to it. Continue reading