You might think that in this world of blogs, tweets, texts and general information overload, pretty much everything that could be written has been already. Yet it’s astonishingly easy to write a sentence nobody else has ever written. Surprisingly, you’ve never read this before.
Yes, the title of this blog article does not show up in a Google search (at least it didn’t before I wrote it here.) If you want to check this for yourself, you’ll have to put the search phrase in quotes – “Surprisingly, you’ve never read this before.”
How short a sentence do you think you would have to write to say something that nobody has previously written? The example above is either six or seven words, depending on how you regard the apostrophe. And how do you regard the apostrophe? There – that was another unique sentence. See – it’s easy.
I digress. Look, forget about whole sentences, try writing just a few words that make some sense but are unique (on Google at least.) What about these:
feral tigers eat takeaway pizza (five words)
short circuiting the toothbrush (four words)
my lazy platypus (three words)
unsolicited oxymoron (two words)
Perhaps these are silly examples, but it took me just seconds to think of them. What I’m trying to demonstrate is that it isn’t half as difficult as you might think to write something that has never been written before. Almost any interesting sentence that uses rich vocabulary will be unique, which is astonishing when you think about how many people must have written thousands of sentences in their lives.
You might think that as time goes by, the supply of original sentences gets used up and it becomes progressively harder to say anything completely new. But I’m pretty sure the reverse is true. It is easier now than ever to say something that nobody has ever said before.
“But what utter preposterousness!” you might exclaim, becoming the first person ever to do so (according to Google.) But calm down, because the thing about language is that it just won’t stay still. Words change their meaning. Words that previously couldn’t be used together now suddenly can. And completely new words appear from out of nowhere!
For example, a couple of decades ago, who would have imagined it possible to use an Apple to phone a BlackBerry? Or to download an app from iTunes? Or to create a Mii on your Wii?
In Shakespeare’s time, the typical English speaker knew around 500 words. These days, the average person has thousands at their disposal. And new words are being invented all the time.
So if you can’t think of some original words to insert into your original sentences, why not invent some new ones? It’s dumbplussingly jococious!