cashewbeast2 (cashewbeast2) wrote in linguaphiles,

Use of the word "aspiring"


I wrote this caption to accompany the attached picture. (Orlando is the cat in the photo)

"Orlando has pretty well got this down, but Olympia artist Nikki McClure’s new title is a helpful primer for aspiring humans."

Afterwards, it occurred to me that the use of the word "aspiring" here felt a little off. I meant to suggest the humans are aspiring to be cats, but usually the noun that "aspiring" is modifying is what the being in question hopes to become. An "aspiring writer" hopes to become a bona fide author. An "aspiring actor" dreams of Hollywood success. By the same logic, an "aspiring human" is someone or something less than human, but wishing and hoping to become a real human being. In the end, I went back and rephrased it as "for humans with feline aspirations." But that too may be fraught with ambiguity: do the humans simply share the cats' aspirations? Or are they aspiring to be cats?

So what do you say, Linguaphiles? Am I overthinking this? Does the context make it obvious enough, and "aspiring humans" is acceptable? Or am I missing a more proper, polished and unambiguous way of phrasing this thought?

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded