Word Fun

Prospective vs. Perspective

Being a Texas girl, I’ve learned that most of my species – folks from Texas – talk like we have a mouth full of marbles. Consonances are slurred; ending letters are dropped; and short words are dragged out to infinity and beyond.

But Texans are NOT alone in this enunciation battle. As I’ve traveled extensively through Southern states, I’ve crossed many a verbal sword with store clerks, waitresses, hotel receptionists, even roadside assist. Add masks to the talking mixture, and the language minefield explodes with confusion.

HOWEVER, not all word snafus are a result of poor pronunciation. At times, it’s a simple matter of playing the game: what’s the right word?

A recent encounter with a car salesman sent me rushing to the nearest dictionary for a bit of word clarification.

The young man, with his bright-shiny new degree from a Texas university – no names revealed here – wanted to know my PRO-spective on the vehicle that I’d selected. I love multi-syllable words, but in the English language, it’s easy to get twisted up.

So, here’s me, sharing with you.

Prospective – something that MIGHT happen
Prospective – something that might happen in the future. Trade PROSPECTIVE with potential or possible or probable, and now, that almighty MIGHT becomes more clear.

*Side-note – I’m not telling you this is the ONLY definition, but it fits for the purpose of this language lesson.

What the young salesman really wanted to know was my perspective on the vehicle.

Perspective – point of view
Perspective – a point of view. Trade PERSPECTIVE with outlook or position and it’s easy to paint a bull’s eye on the point of view definition.

As he was hoping to close the deal, the salesman needed my perspective (point of view) on my prospective (might happen) purchase. Anyone who’s ever sold to the public knows that it’s easier to close the sale if you know what the customer is thinking {their point of view}.

For all of us who love language, or just like getting the words right – PROSPECTIVE & PERSPECTIVE are two different words with completely different meanings.

And whether the young salesman could distinguish the verbal subtleties of these two words, he could speak ‘car’. He offered me a great deal on the vehicle and I went from being a prospective buyer to a new car owner.

Happy dialoguing, my friends.

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