The debate created by not-wet water

Claire Moylan, Staff Writer

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We the human race knows quite a few things  about water. We know water is made of two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. We know it is one of the most important substances on Earth. We know it covers the about 71 percent of the Earth and is needed by all life. Water is a fun conversation topic (note the sarcasm) that has turned controversial due to the wonderful Internet.

“Is water wet?” is a childish question with a seemingly obvious answer. We expect water to be wet and don’t expect any opposition. Except, there is opposition. Many say water is wet, while others disagree. Personally, I’m on the side declaring water isn’t wet. Here’s why.

[Wet is an adjective] consisting of, containing, covered with, or soaked with liquid (such as water),” as stated by the Merriam Webster dictionary.

Since it’s an adjective, its job is to rename or describe nouns. It’s describing what an object looks like after it makes contact with a liquid, like wet pavement or wet hair.

For example, when you are underwater, you are surrounded by water. Your skin does not have the feeling of being wet until you surface. Once you break the surface and the air makes contact with your skin, you experience the feeling of wetness. On another note, mixing water with water doesn’t make it wet. Water cannot change the state of itself. Fire intermixing with fire does not burn the fire. It adds to it. It cannot burn itself because it causes the burning.

It may sound like I’m contradicting myself, but, truly, there are many answers to this question. Each answer is based on the context of its corresponding situation. In a grammatical context, water can’t be wet due to the definition; something is wet when it is saturated or covered in a liquid like water. If we were to look at it scientifically, a single water molecule technically isn’t wet because wetness is caused by multiple molecules interacting together. However, water is also wet because of how the oxygen and hydrogen are bonded.

Either way, I’m still on the side declaring water isn’t wet. Reason: the definition of wet means to be covered or saturated with water. The fact that “wet” is an adjective really scores the winning goal. Science takes a backseat to grammar in this case.  

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The debate created by not-wet water