Thoughts to ponder… Is Water Wet?

Evan Ommen, Guest Writer

Is water wet? This debate might not be as famous as some others like “Burger vs Hotdog”, or “Cake vs Ice Cream”, but it’s varying interpretations and vague words make it quite an argument. Although this concept may not make you drool, and it is not as straightforward as the others, it is quite simple if you think about it enough and hear the right arguments. Your opinion could swing either way. That’s what I’m here for – to swing you.

Water is wet. This seems like the only viable option at first. From my experience, when people think of water, they think of either one of two things. One, drinking a cool glass of water, or two, getting out of the pool and standing there soaking wet without a towel. So, based on these images in our minds, we can all agree on the fact that when you are in water, you become wet. However, the question isn’t if water makes things wet, but rather, is water itself wet? 

Here’s an analogy to give a different perspective. Is fire burnt? Yes, fire does the act of burning, but is fire itself burnt? The answer to this question is simply, no. Fire is not burnt. To be burnt is to be “destroyed or badly damaged by fire”. For example, burnt toast. The fire can not destroy or badly damage itself, therefore, fire is not burnt. Now, does the same apply to water being wet? 

The definition of wet is “covered or saturated with water”. The next question is can water be covered by itself? This is a circumstantial question. This means it’s dependent on the way that the answerer interprets the word “water”. The answerer could interpret it in a number of ways. The most common way would be to think of the word “water” as a pool or ocean, and in this case, the answer would be no. Water can not cover itself. Instead, it blends together if you pour more water in it. Some people could also interpret it as one single water molecule, H2O. If the answerer interprets it this way, the answer would be yes, water can cover itself. 

I know what you’re probably thinking. Well either your mind is as blank as mine was at first, or you’re saying “Evan, doesn’t this mean that there’s no answer?” My answer to this is no because there is an answer. In fact, there are multiple. To quote the great Mr. Isaacson, “In order for one to answer a question, they must first have the same definition as the inquirer.” 

All this work and there isn’t even one answer. Each person will have their own answer and despite how much you agree or disagree, you can’t say it’s wrong because there is no wrong answer. I’m rather curious on how “not right” or “not wrong” my fellow eighth grade classmates feel, so I’ve decided to ask them.
I surveyed half of the grade and multiplied those numbers by two. Here are the final results:

Yes, water is wet-43% No, water is not wet-57%

This article has been my voice the whole time and to quote the great Mr. Isaacson once more, “My voice is boring. Somebody else read.” 

Here is that “somebody else” named Angela Crowe, an 8th grader at Dobbs Ferry Middle School, and her thoughts on this debate.

Me: Do you believe that water is wet?

AC: No. Definitely not.

Me: May I ask your reasoning behind this bold opinion?

AC: Well, water is something that wets other things but it can’t wet itself, making it not wet.

Me: Interesting. Lastly, what are your thoughts on 57% of the grade saying that water is not wet?

AC: I’m not surprised because I strongly believe in my opinion and I assumed that most people would agree.

Of course this is only one person, but it really gives you a sense of the passionate opinions of the disagree side and explains their thought process. I found these results rather interesting and although I agree with them, I will say I’m somewhat surprised because when I first heard this question, my immediate thought was that it is wet and you couldn’t change my mind. 

I enjoyed writing this article, and contradictory to the survey results, the article itself certainly isn’t dry.