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Latin Roots


When I was in primary school part of our early education was learning the Latin roots to English words. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about you can get a broad understanding of Latin roots here). This means that as I go through life I can better understand what people are talking about if they use a word (or words) which is completely or partially unfamiliar to me and gives me a fair chance of not misunderstanding their message.

The desired result may not always be achieved, especially when two roots are pronounced the same but spelled differently - like “anti”, meaning against, and “ante” meaning before.

There are a few basics that kids can learn before turning 5 and heading off to school, and these include rudimentary counting, tying shoelaces, knowing the difference between left and right, and how to tell the time.

Telling the time has been made easier by using the abbreviations “a.m.” and “p.m.” which millions of people recognize as before noon and after noon respectively.

When the clock strikes 12 confusion could reign. The middle of the day should never be referred to as either “a.m.” or “p.m. The “m” is short for “meridiem” which means midday, so 12 noon cannot be either “post” (after) or “ante” (before) because it IS “meridiem”. It would be preferable to instead use the terms 12 noon and 12 midnight.

It is my opinion that 12 p.m. is the middle of the night because it is 12 hours postmeridiem. I was recently invited to attend a seminar beginning at 12p.m. I did not go – that is way past my bedtime!

Life would be made considerably easier if we universally adopted the 24 hour clock.