Is Prepone an Actual Word?
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By Priyadarshini Mahendran
Are you nodding and saying yes? Think again. It isn’t.
Yes, really. (Google quickly!)
“Prepone” is an Indian English word that has come about to explain an event that has been brought forward to an earlier time or date. It is used so often, as the opposite to postpone, that it’s almost legit.
Examples of its usage:
- They preponed the last date for submitting applications.
- The deadline for the delivery has been preponed to the 15th of this month.
- Ragavan has preponed the meeting by 2 hours.
The word postpone means to push something off to a later date. It is natural for people to think that the obvious opposite of postpone is “prepone”, especially given the usage of terms such as ‘prepaid’ – ‘postpaid’; ‘predated’ – ‘postdated’.
The word prepone is used largely in India only, and people from other countries do not understand what we mean when we use it. It is a word that has caught on, and has been accepted by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 11th edition (which added around 80 Indian English words).
But when we want to raise our English to global standards, it may not be prudent to use words or phrases that colleagues in London or New York can’t follow.
So, what then is the opposite of the word postpone? What is the word you need to be using instead of prepone? The answer is: advance or bring forward.
The right way of using these words would be:
- They advanced the last date for submitting applications.
- The deadline for the delivery has been advanced to the 15th of this month.
- Ragavan has brought the meeting forward by 2 hours.
Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is wealth. Make sure you never ‘postpone’ research for your presentation as you never know when your meeting might get ‘advanced’. (wink)
Priyadarshini is a CELTA Cambridge graduate and a passionate English language trainer. She enjoys reading, writing and listening to music.