Prefix: out-

One use of out- is to produce compound transitive verbs incorporating a competitive meaning of “exceed, surpass”. It generally combines with nouns or verbs:

Nouns: outclass, outdistance, outgun, outnumber, outpace, outrank, outwit
Verbs: outdo, outfight, outlast, outlive, outperform, outrun, outshine, outweigh

In general, those formed from nouns mean “have higher/better/more ~ than”, and those formed from verbs mean “~better/more/longer than”, but there is a good deal of lexicalisation and specialisation of meaning. For example, outshine means”surpass in excellence”, outweigh “have greater importance/influence than”, outdistance X “get far ahead of X”, and so on. Outsmart is exceptional in having an adjective as the second base and outsize in being itself an adjective.


Getting the Love You Want

Breaking patterns to achieve better relationships

Two questions I’ve heard frequently in my 30-plus years working with clients are “Why do my attempts at relationships keep ending in failure?” and “Are my standards too high? No one I want seems to want me.” The truth is that we all have different internal struggles that get in our way when it comes to finding and maintaining the love we say we want. However, there are certain patterns we bring to our relationships that are based on our past and that often lead us to the same relationship outcomes. The good news is, if we can be open, curious, and willing to explore these patterns and where they come from, we can take a great deal of power over our romantic lives. We can change our romantic destiny and enjoy closer, healthier, and more fulfilling relationships.

Understanding and changing unhealthy relationship habits involves looking into our past. The first thing we can do is explore our attachment history. The attachments we experience at the start of our lives serve as models for how we expect to be treated. Our early attachment patterns help establish how we feel about ourselves as well as how we think we have to behave in order to get what we want and need in life and in relationships.

For example, having a parent who was intermittently available or emotionally hungry toward us can leave us with an anxious attachment. We may have felt worried, like we had to work extra hard to get noticed, to get their attention, to feel safe, seen, or soothed. As a result, we may grow up feeling insecure toward our romantic partners, believing we have to make things happen, being preoccupied and unsure of whether they love us, often anticipating disappointment or rejection.

On the other hand, if we had a parent who was emotionally neglectful or unavailable, that may have led us to form an avoidant attachment in which we disconnected from having needs, because it was too painful, frustrating, and shame-inducing to feel them. As adults, we may grow up to feel pseudo-independent, distrusting, or dismissing of others, wary of closeness and intolerant of others having needs. With romantic partners, we may create emotional distance and feel uncomfortable with them wanting anything from us.

The ways we were treated when we were young led us to establish certain defenses that were adaptive to our early environment but go on to serve as barriers in our adult relationships. Understanding our adaptations and attachment pattern can give us valuable information about what we bring to our relationships. How are these experiences affecting who I choose or the ways I view my partner? How do they influence how I act in my relationships? Am I perpetuating an old, negative cycle that leaves me in a state that’s emotionally familiar?

In the research and clinical work my father, psychologist Robert Firestone, and I have done, we have found that people tend to recreate their past in the present. We often accomplish this by selecting, distorting, or provoking our partners to fit with old dynamics and reaffirm negative feelings we’ve long had about ourselves.

Selection – Our initial attractions can be tricky, because sometimes the very thing that compels us toward another person can ultimately be the very thing that hurts us down the line. We may be intrigued by someone who’s “mysterious” and “aloof.” We may feel drawn in by someone who “comes on strong” and “fills the room.” Ultimately, we may find these same traits frustrating when the person turns out to be cold and distant or intrusive and controlling. Without realizing it, we often choose people who play out the other half of a painful dynamic from our past, thus repeating patterns and reaffirming beliefs about relationships.

Distortion – Even when we choose a partner with qualities we love and respect, we may wind up distorting the other person to fit into our preexisting models for relationships. We may perceive their natural interest or attraction toward us as “too much” or “needy.” We may mistake their enthusiasm for other friends or activities as signs of rejection or disinterest. We may misread our partner’s tone or overanalyze their behavior to fit with old expectations and ideas we have about ourselves and relationships. In this way, we are no longer seeing the person for who they are but through a faulty lens based on our own history.

Provocation – In a relationship, we’re rarely aware of the behaviors that we ourselves engage in that provoke our partner to act out patterns from our past. If we grew up feeling rejected, we may act insecure or aggressive in ways that alienate our partner. If we felt intruded on, we may push away our partner, leaving them to feel like they have to be more proactive and pursuing. We may even get our partner to say things to us that represent critical thoughts that were directed toward us early in our lives. For example, if we were treated as incapable as kids, we may grow up with “critical inner voices” telling us we’re stupid or useless. In our relationship, we may start being forgetful or irresponsible in ways that provoke our partner to say and feel things toward us that reaffirm a core, negative sense of our identity.

Through many years of working with couples and individuals who are engaging in these patterns, I have identified methods that help people change their attachment patterns and defensive adaptations that were survival mechanisms when they were young, but that are now serving as barriers to them getting the love they say they want. When they are able to identify their attachment patterns and work through unresolved issues from their past, they can move toward forming secure attachments. When they catch on to the ways they select, distort, and provoke their partners to recreate the climate of their past, they can start to break these patterns by dropping their half of the dynamic and developing ways of relating that reflect who they want to be in their relationships. When people challenge their existing ideas and models they have for relationships, they can have more love in their life, create better relationships, and have more inner security

Centuries and How to Refer to Them

Is it the 1600s or the 16th century?


magine we’re traveling through time, jumping ahead whole decades and winding up in an entirely new century. It’s the year 2100, and we’re at the dawn of the 22nd century.

Yep, that’s what’s coming next: the 22nd century. Its years will all* start with 21, proceeding up to the distant 2199. And as we all know, we’re currently in the 21st century, but the years start with 20. And in the 20th century, they all started with 19, and in the 19th, with 18, and so on.


No 22nd century spoilers, please.

It can be hard to remember this, especially when you go back a few hundred years, which is why we sometimes see people use, say, 16th century (which should refer to years that begin with 15) when they really mean 1600s, which clearly refers to years that begin with 16.

We also sometimes see people confuse the “hundreds” form with the “century” one, referring to a date like 1528 as occurring in the “1600s.” To be clear, 1528 is a card-carrying member of the 1500s and the 16th century.

The thing to remember is that the number in the name of the century (the 16th century, for example) is always one higher than the number that starts the century’s years: the years of the 16th century start with 15.

There’s logic behind it, of course. The first century of the current era (aka the 1st century CE or AD) didn’t start with 100; it started with 1 (more on the implications of that below). It wasn’t until the second century, aka the 2nd century, that the years had a digit in the hundreds column: the year 150 was a century and a half into the new era, putting it smack-dab in the middle of the 2nd century.

AD (also styled A.D.), by the way, stands for “anno Domini,” which is Medieval Latin for “in the year of our Lord.” It’s used to indicate that a year, century, etc., falls within the Christian era—that is, the period dating from the birth of Christ. AD is contrasted with BC (also styled B.C.), meaning “before Christ.” CEand BCE (both also sometimes styled with periods) are also used for AD and BC, respectively, because they allow for a secular gloss. CE can mean “Common Era” or “Christian Era”; BCE can mean “before the Christian Era” or “before the Common Era.”

*But back to those implications we mentioned above: will the years of the 22nd century really all start with 21? It depends on who you ask. Some people think the 22nd century will start January 1, 2100 and end December 31, 2199, with the 23rd century beginning on January 1, 2200. But there is a long history of people insisting that this is flat-out wrong for mathematical reasons: a century is by definition 100 years in length, and the first century started on January 1, 1, which means that when December 31, 99 rolled around only 99 years had passed; therefore, the first century of the current millennium didn’t actually end until December 31, 100, and the second century didn’t begin until January 1, 101.

This topic has proven to be vexatious especially at the turns of centuries, starting at the end of the 17th one, according to a Library of Congress article by Ruth S. Freitag called “Battle of the Centuries.” There appears to have been quite a hubbub on the Continent over the matter in the late 1600s, and the British joined in on the next round:

We have uniformly rejected all letters, and declined all discussion upon the question of when the present century ends? as it is one of the most absurd that can engage the public attention, and we are astonished to find it has been the subject of so much dispute, since it appears to be perfectly plain. The present century will not terminate till January 1, 1801, unless it can be made out that 99 are 100. Eighteen centuries are 1800 years, then how can 18 centuries be completed till the year 1800 has expired? What is the meaning of a century, but a clear distinct series of 100 years? How can 100 be completed by 99?
The Times (London), 26 Dec. 1799

For the same readership but two hundred years later, things had changed:

The world has voted with its cheque book in the debate on precisely when the millennium ends. While pedants continue to pit December 31, 1999, against the end of the year 2000, everyone who is anyone, it seems, has opted for the earlier date as the time to organise what they hope will be the mother of all parties.
The Times (London), 2 Apr. 1991

Freitag notes that the 1991 article continues on “to report that a hotel, the construction of which had not yet begun, was already fully booked for that date, and points out that flying Concorde westward would enable revelers to ring in the New Year in several widely separated cities.”

We assume there will be renewed debate on the matter in the late 2000s, and won’t weigh in ourselves in the meanwhile.

The Future Tense in English

If you want to talk about your projects, imagine the future, make predictions about what tomorrow will bring in English, you will definitely use the future tense. To do so it is important that you know how to use it well. In addition to the uses we mentioned before, the future tense can also express agreement, an action that is regularly carried out, an obligation, or an action that will be completed in the future. If you think that you need a review of the future in English, this article is for you.

We will present the four futures forms in English, simply and clearly: the future simple (two forms), the future continuous, and the future perfect.

Future Simple (Will)
The future simple is formed with will / shall + the base form of the verb. Use it to show something that you will do in the immediate future or to make predictions about the weather or general events that are out of your control. It shows:

A spontaneous decision.
I will call you back later.
We will go to the doctor tomorrow.

The prediction of a future event.
It will snow tomorrow.
The political situation will improve over the next few years.

With shall, a proposal to do something.
Shall I close the window?
Shall we go for a walk?

An order.
You will not go out tonight!
You will finish your homework!

In the interrogative form, an invitation.
Will you come with me?
Will you go to the doctor tomorrow?

Future Simple (Going To)
This is formed with the auxiliary to be + going + the infinitive of the main verb. It is used to indicate plans or decisions, in particular future events strongly associated with the present.

I am going to have dinner with my cousin tonight.

We are going to move away from this area next month.

Future Continuous
This is formed using the simple future of the verb to be + the present participle of the main verb. This indicates a future action under development.

Next year, at this time, we will be going on holiday.

Next month, at this time, I will be taking my exam.

Future Perfect
The future perfect is made up of two elements: the future simple of the verb to have (will have) + the past participle of the main verb. It shows an action that will be completed at the future time mentioned.

By December, I will have finished my thesis.

By the end of the year, I will have handed in my resignation.

Future Perfect Continuous
The future perfect continuous is made up of two elements: the future perfect of the verb to be + the present participle of the main verb. It shows an action that will be continuing in the future and will either be completed or interrupted by another event in the future.

I’ll have been studying English for three months this summer.

Next year, I will have been living in Manchester for 15 years.

These are the characteristics of future time in English. With a bit of practice, you will know how to express yourself expertly. The ideal way to learn to use these verbs without making mistakes is by taking a good English course. ABA English offers you an innovative and effective method that adapts to the needs of each student. In fact, you have at your disposal 144 free video classes that you can watch at any time in addition to short films and qualified native teachers. What are you waiting for? Join the approximately 17 million students worldwide who have chosen to learn English through ABA English