Monday, February 4, 2013

All about the "Set"

I heard the other day that the single English word with the most distinct definitions in the dictionary is "set." I checked and sure enough, there's an abundance of usages. The entries for "set" fill almost a whole page (fine print) of my old faithful Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, college edition.

Out of curiosity, I thought I'd check my final, last chance to change, manuscript of Lessons Learned. A simple word find, whoa,  and oh, my, there were twenty-nine! Three hundred, eight pages in the book and twenty-nine times I used the word "set." More than I imagined! Here's a few examples starting with a quote about the Glen Alpine Springs Hotel:

Glen Alpine Springs Hotel
courtesy of
The History Museum of Burke County

My great grandfather was building superintendent and also did the surveying. He surveyed with a tripod, stood it on one leg, jabbed it in the ground, set the compass on it, took readings.

Children who had difficulties were set aside and held back to repeat the grade the next year. There was no social promotion. 

As the 1944-45 year began, the oldest students were not set to graduate until the spring of 1946.

The teacher frequently brought a jar of green beans as her lunch and set it on the window sill to heat in the sun.

It was just the mindset then that when you get sixteen you’d quit school and go to work in the shop.

He set a really good example, the way he lived and the way he treated us.

Those kids were pinto beans and livermush kids, but they would set out bowls of black olives on the tables.

The board set a special election for Saturday, April 6, 1963.

In the fall of 1967, when a new couple moved into the principal’s house, the community didn’t have to learn a new set of names.

The things that I did or the things that were said here those first two years set my tone to my teaching for the rest of the time of my career.

On rare occasions the principal brought the television set from the principal’s house and exposed the children to national sports.

Just as building the school in 1942 presented difficulty after difficulty, the renovation in 2005 presented its own set of issues.

At the front entrance was a set of tall double doors leading onto a portico and the familiar two white pillars.

An interesting catch of the day,


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