One of the last things I did before going to bed tonight was to add a few books to my LibraryThing library. One of the books was a collection of short stories by Stephen King, Just After Sunset. Typing the title from memory, however, I originally typed “just past sunset” in the search box, with no results. I quickly figured out my mistake and got the book added.
So now I’m lying in bed, thinking about the use of the word “past” and how it can refer to placement both in space and time. You can say “it’s just past the bookstore” when you’re giving directions, or “it’s past 10 o’clock” and be equally understood.
Then I started thinking about hearing someone say “it’s past 10 o’clock” and how they could just as easily be saying “it’s passed 10 o’clock”, and how that could be considered correct as long as the contraction it’s stood for it has rather than it is, and isn’t it interesting that the same contraction can stand for two different things, and what we think we understand about what someone is saying may not be what they were saying at all, but does it really matter as long as we understand the general intent of what they said, and are there any situations when it could actually change the meaning of what was said, and …
Anyway, that’s why I have trouble falling asleep.