The prefix pre- is a useful little syllable that means “before” — a fact that makes this sign, which appeared on the window of a new store, particularly confusing:
I’m assuming that “Pre Open” means the store hasn’t had an official grand opening with flags, pop-ups on social media, and token gifts for customers. “Liquidation” is what stores do when they turn all their assets into cash prior to going out of business. So this sign means that the store is (a) not yet open and (b) preparing to close forever. If you want to buy anything here, you have to jump right on the line between existence and nonexistence.
Here’s another mangled pre- sign:
Huh? This sales pitch is the equivalent of “Hurry in! Today’s $50 trinket will be $25 tomorrow! Take advantage of our “pre sale” and lose money!” Who could resist that offer?
Taking a break from writing this post, I checked Facebook, which told me that this blog had drawn “ten new previews” since the last time I looked. I know from the weekly stats Facebook sends me that Grammarian in the City gets twice as many “previews” as views. What I don’t know is the Facebook definition of preview. Someone takes a quick look and decides nope, not for me? But isn’t that a view? Anyone out there who knows, please share the knowledge.
All this talk about pre- makes me ponder post-, a prefix meaning “after.” When it’s not in that role, post shows up as a noun meaning “letters that come in the mail,” “a job,” or “an upright building support,” among other definitions. The derivations are different, but it’s tempting to think those words arose from the assumption that mail is always late, as are workers and contractors. Not to mention bloggers, whose posts appear several days after their intended publication date. Yes, I’m in that tardy group, as I’d planned to publish this post last Wednesday. My pre-New Year’s resolution is not to postpone posts. Preview this page frequently to see whether I keep my resolution.