General Writing and Grammar Help/Age backwards


Dear Ted:

What does "to age backwards" mean?

Would you please give me some examples of how to use this infinitive phrase correctly?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.


Dear Paolo:

What does "to age backwards" mean?

*** This question is very interesting.  A few nights ago, I watch a movie on television.  The movie starred Brad Pitt and was titled "Benjamin Buttons."

The plot was essentially about the reverse of a normal human life.  When Benjamin was born, he was the size of a baby, but he looked like he was 80 years old.  His skin was pale and wrinkled, etc.  During the course of Benjamin's life, his body grew to adulthood, and then the procedure began to reverse.  When he died, he looked like a rosy-cheeked, newborn baby.

This fantasy of growing or aging backwards is usually limited to science fiction plots.
However, Merlin, the magician who advised King Arthur was born "old."  During his life he "youthed" -- he gradually became younger.

I really cannot give you any more examples of the phenomenon.  There is a psychological term for "going backward," and it is called REGRESSION.  When a 50-year-old man begins to act like a child, he is said to have "regressed."


P. S.  The plot of Oscar Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Gray" also uses this "fantasy."

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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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