What is the opposite of postpone?
It is advance. No, it is prepone. Prepone was invented by Indians. No, my teacher says it is fine to use prepone nowadays. These are some of the answers our readers gave us. This very question came up on our Facebook group ‘Verbal Ability Made Easy’ a couple of months back. We present the conversation here:
Reader 1 : Is pre -pone is the correct antonym for postponed ….but some pundits say the correct phrase is advanced
Reader 2 : there’s no word like prepone. advance is the correct word.
Reader 3 : Reader 2 - Got a small doubt….if the word prepone does not exist how did it make its way into the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary?
Reader 2 : I don’t have any idea about how it made its way into the oxford dictionary but actually there is no word like prepone. Prepone is actually a word invented by Indians. I would put it this way. Prepone is not an english word rather a hinglish word. I may be wrong when I say this but its correct to the best of my knowledge. May be someone else can explain it better.
Reader 4 : There are many words that make it to the dictionary, simply because they are popular. For example, words like ‘facebook’ and ‘facebooked’ ( as verbs – meaning – to use facebook) have made it to the dictionary on the sheer strength of the number of Facebook users. This doesn’t mean that, ‘facebook’ and ‘facebooked’ ( as verbs) are correct in formal contexts.
I agree with ‘Reader 2′ on the issue of whether ‘prepone’ is acceptable in formal writing. ‘Prepone’ is definitely Indian. Considering the rate at which India is growing, it is only natural that Indians play a huge role in popularizing a word. Entry to a dictionary, follows.
To conclude, ‘advance’ was, is, and will be correct.
‘Prepone’ was wrong; it is increasingly becoming acceptable. But, I wouldn’t bet on it’s longevity.
Reader 5: The beauty of English language is that it includes popular words from other languages thus increasing its vocabulary.Once a word is included in the dictionary,it means the word is accepted by the linguists.then why shouldn’t we use it?
Reader 6: I like the way India is contributing to the addition of words to the dictionary… and surely Prepone is a natural, logical contribution. Lets celebrate Indianisms… and India’s impact on the English Language. After all… that is what the evolution of language is about. with 1/6 of the world’s population… we should have some say on the world’s premier language too..
To conclude, the formal antonym of postpone is advance. However, prepone is also increasingly becoming acceptable.