wish … quit … directed

I love a good digression, and I certainly got one last night. The main grammar point was ‘I wish I was/had/could …’, ‘I wish you/[people/things] were/had/would …’ and ‘I wish [a person/thing] was/had/would …’. While the students were completing a grammar worksheet, I typed ‘I wish I’ into a Major Search Engine to see how it would complete that. One of the suggestions was ‘I wish I knew how to quit you’, which seemed a random idea. Further investigation showed that it is a line from Brokeback Mountain, which I have never seen, but which I know the basic story of. I showed them the video of that character saying that. Most of the students knew about the movie. A Taiwanese student said ‘That was directed by Ang Lee’, then ‘I’m confused about that word directed. Is that the same as direct flight?’. My gut feeling was that it is, but I had to check. Yes, those words, and others, are derived from Latin dērēctus, the past participle of dērigere to align, straighten, guide.

Wordfind.com reports that there are 25 words beginning with direct:
noun: director, directors, directrix, directrixes, directrice, directrices, directress; direction, directions; directory, directories; directive, directives; directness; directorate; directivity
verb: direct, directs, directing, directed
adjective: direct, directer, directest; directorial; directional
adverb: directly

But wait, there’s more: the negative indirect sprang to my mind, so I searched for words containing direct, and got 80, including *directedness, *directednesses, #directionality, *directionalities, directionless, *directionlessness, *directionlessnesses, *directivities, #directnesses, directorship, directorships, #directresses (the spell-checker in Pages for Mac doesn’t recognise the asterisked words; the spell-checker in WordPress doesn’t recognise those or the hashed words), and with the prefixes bi-, co-, in-, mis-, multi-, non-, omni-, over-, re-, sub- and uni-. (Note that all but over are originally Latin. Over is also a word in its own right and not just a prefix.)

The student also asked about the pronunciation, whether it was duh-rect or die-rect. Both are acceptable.

When I drafted this post, I first typed ‘I wish I could quit you’, but the interweb showed me that the line is, in fact, ‘I wish I knew how to quit you’. But many of the memes built on this line use the two forms of the quotation interchangeably.


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