Exceptional Expressions For Everyday Events
Using one’s imagination is an enjoyable, creative, and often productive part of learning. To imagine is to create a picture or idea in your mind. In a history class, the teacher might ask students to imagine what it would have been like to be one of the first settlers from Europe arriving in the Americas. A fiction writing assignment could give students the opportunity to imagine an alien world in a distant universe. Scientists might need to imagine alternative ways to conduct experiments before finding one that works.
To imagine is to conceive of or dream up an idea. When imagining, a person could think of situations that are possible, but may not yet exist, or picture something that will never actually happen but is still interesting or useful to consider. In the “I Have a Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he imagined a society where racial boundaries had ceased to exist. Writers of historical novels and futuristic movies often create fictional stories in order to comment on current issues.
- How could visualizing a plan before acting on it help to avoid problems?
- When might the ability to imagine things that do not exist be helpful? When might that ability be a problem?
The Spanish Connection
The English word imagine comes from the late 12th century Anglo-Norman word, imaginer, that meant to assume or to suppose. This original meaning for imagine remains, although it is not the more common definition today. The Spanish word for imagine is the cognate imaginar. Imaginar came from the classical Latin word imaginari, which in turn came from a 12th century British word. Imagine is an example of a word that does not share a common root with its cognates, but instead one word is derived from the root of the other word.
- Some of the common phrases using imagine have an element of incredulity. For example, “Can you imagine?” and “Imagine that!” are expressions that indicate something surprising or unlikely has happened.
- The noun imagination is the mental capacity for creativity. Many artists strive to produce work that challenges routine ideas. In school, teachers might encourage students to start from some common point and then ”See where your imaginations take you.”