road, sun and trees

How to juxtapose a tree

The challenge is to expand our vocabulary and think about what words mean to us. The word of the month in May is ‘juxtapose’ as once again we find ourselves at various crossroads.

I’m really keen on expanding my vocabulary, not just because I’m a writer, but because I love the feel of words in my head and as I speak them. I mean, who on earth came up with the wonderful supercalifragilistic? And when you stop to consider a word, how did it come to represent the thing it does. How for instance did the thing with four legs we sit at to eat or work become ‘table‘?

According to the Cambridge dictionary, it means to put things that are not similar next to each other. In other words, it’s a perfect analogy of thinking that supposes ‘if this, then that’ when actually there is no causal effect at all, but we assume there is.

To juxtapose something is to compare and contrast different things. Styles of painting or painters, for example, novels or even ideas. And in some case cases, it is even used in the media in an attempt to link one set of actions or outcomes with something that is not related, but the inference makes it so in readers minds. For example,

One trend that has emerged among some Ukrainian TikTok users is to juxtapose scenes from their everyday life before the Russian invasion with footage of the front line. NBC News, 4 Mar. 2022

In my day-to-day job in IT I often compare different ways of doing the same thing. The implication of this is that it’s all the same, whereas I need to go a step beyond to explain that although they are similar different contexts and consequences can arise.

I suppose the word of caution here might be to be careful what you juxtapose as it may just come back and bite you on the bum one day!

Now it’s your turn. What does juxtapose mean to you? Are you aware of using the context of it in your everyday life, without necessarily using the word?

(Image Lockenkopf / 52 images)

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