Does it sound right?

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Woods
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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Woods » 2021-04-15, 21:04

linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:He or she knows what they want and waits until they find it.

Is it okay to use both he or she and they in the same sentence, referring to the same subject?

The sentence is intelligible to me but I don't understand why you want to do this.

To avoid repetition. So you're saying it must be either "he or she" three times, or "they" x3 or "one" x3? How can I make these phrase idiomatic but not repetitive?

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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby linguoboy » 2021-04-15, 23:04

Woods wrote:To avoid repetition. So you're saying it must be either "he or she" three times, or "they" x3 or "one" x3? How can I make these phrase idiomatic but not repetitive?

Repetition isn't a bad thing though. It especially isn't a bad thing when anaphora is involved.
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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Dormouse559 » 2021-04-15, 23:49

Woods wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:He or she knows what they want and waits until they find it.

Is it okay to use both he or she and they in the same sentence, referring to the same subject?

The sentence is intelligible to me but I don't understand why you want to do this.

To avoid repetition. So you're saying it must be either "he or she" three times, or "they" x3 or "one" x3? How can I make these phrase idiomatic but not repetitive?

They x3, as well as one x3 (in the original), sounds fine. Repeating he or she too many times can get weird because the phrase itself is rather marked, but “This person knows what he or she wants and waits until he or she finds it” is okay.
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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Woods » 2021-05-13, 23:31

cowshit, when talking of some nonsense done by a woman, or just to vary a little bit from "bullshit" - will that work?

"I have an acquaintance who..." - instead of "I have a friend who" - can "acquaintance" replace "friend" in the same construction?

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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Rí.na.dTeangacha » 2021-05-13, 23:40

Woods wrote:cowshit, when talking of some nonsense done by a woman, or just to vary a little bit from "bullshit" - will that work?


I don't think it would be understood as referring in any way to the gender of the person. If you said "That's cowshit", it would sound to me like an ad hoc neologism you made up on the spot, and I'd understand what you meant, but it's not a "thing".

Woods wrote:"I have an acquaintance who..." - instead of "I have a friend who" - can "acquaintance" replace "friend" in the same construction?


Grammatically, yes. However, to me "acquaintance" implies a significantly weaker relationship than "friend".
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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby linguoboy » 2021-05-14, 3:30

Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:
Woods wrote:cowshit, when talking of some nonsense done by a woman, or just to vary a little bit from "bullshit" - will that work?

I don't think it would be understood as referring in any way to the gender of the person.

+1.

If you said "That's cowshit", it would sound to me like an ad hoc neologism you made up on the spot, and I'd understand what you meant, but it's not a "thing".

I’ve heard “cowshit” before. It’s rare (much rarer than other variants like “horseshit” or “bullcrap”) but it’s not unknown in NAE.

Woods wrote:"I have an acquaintance who..." - instead of "I have a friend who" - can "acquaintance" replace "friend" in the same construction?

Grammatically, yes. However, to me "acquaintance" implies a significantly weaker relationship than "friend".

Most NAE speakers don’t seem to make any distinction between “friend” and “acquaintance”. Someone you’ve known for a week can still be “a friend of mine”. More than implying a weaker relationship, “acquaintance” indicates a higher register. It’s not really a colloquial term any more.
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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Dormouse559 » 2021-05-14, 4:58

linguoboy wrote:
Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:
Woods wrote:"I have an acquaintance who..." - instead of "I have a friend who" - can "acquaintance" replace "friend" in the same construction?

Grammatically, yes. However, to me "acquaintance" implies a significantly weaker relationship than "friend".

Most NAE speakers don’t seem to make any distinction between “friend” and “acquaintance”. Someone you’ve known for a week can still be “a friend of mine”. More than implying a weaker relationship, “acquaintance” indicates a higher register. It’s not really a colloquial term any more.

"Acquaintance" is higher register, but I'm with Rí that it describes a weaker relationship than "friend". It would sound odd to me if someone used "acquaintance" as simply a formal synonym of "friend".
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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-05-14, 6:30

Dormouse559 wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:
Woods wrote:"I have an acquaintance who..." - instead of "I have a friend who" - can "acquaintance" replace "friend" in the same construction?

Grammatically, yes. However, to me "acquaintance" implies a significantly weaker relationship than "friend".

Most NAE speakers don’t seem to make any distinction between “friend” and “acquaintance”. Someone you’ve known for a week can still be “a friend of mine”. More than implying a weaker relationship, “acquaintance” indicates a higher register. It’s not really a colloquial term any more.

"Acquaintance" is higher register, but I'm with Rí that it describes a weaker relationship than "friend". It would sound odd to me if someone used "acquaintance" as simply a formal synonym of "friend".

Me too. If someone calls their friend an "acquaintance," it can sound like they are saying they aren't really friends, they just know each other. It puts some distance between them. All of my coworkers are my "acquaintances", but only a few of them are my "friends", for example.
I also agree that "acquaintance" is a higher register. I see nothing wrong with saying "I have an acquaintance who..." but when I try to think of any time I might have said it exactly that way, I think I probably haven't. I would be more likely to simply say "I know someone who..." if that is what I meant, or perhaps "I have a coworker who...." and so on. But for me "I have a friend who..." is not synonymous with the others because it implies a closer relationship.

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Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Woods » 2021-05-14, 8:55

Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:
Woods wrote:"I have an acquaintance who..." - instead of "I have a friend who" - can "acquaintance" replace "friend" in the same construction?

Grammatically, yes. However, to me "acquaintance" implies a significantly weaker relationship than "friend".

That's the idea. I just didn't see much of it used this way, the examples were more of the kind "I made an acquaintance with him."

Thanks :)


linguoboy wrote:Most NAE speakers don’t seem to make any distinction between “friend” and “acquaintance”. Someone you’ve known for a week can still be “a friend of mine”.

Well, I'm acqually trying to underline a weaker relationship as Rí.na.dTeangacha suggested.


Linguaphile wrote:If someone calls their friend an "acquaintance," it can sound like they are saying they aren't really friends, they just know each other.

Precisely what I'm going for!


Thanks to all for the comments :)


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