I have some questions

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Re: I have some questions

Postby Dormouse559 » 2018-06-21, 15:07

LifeDeath wrote:Is it theoretically possible that we use "can" in its positive form with the perfect? What would it mean to you semantically? (I doubt if I can use this word when referring to a grammatical tense but not to a sentential element, like a word or compound.)

You can theoretically, but the epistemic meaning implied in the negative is replaced by the "be able to" meaning. As a result, it sounds as though the subject of "can" is able to change their past actions. Essentially, you've found one of English's time travel tenses.


LifeDeath wrote:I've noticed that sometimes in English adjectives are formed by connecting a few words together. I was trying to make an adjective for describing a person who is looking for love or a love partner. I got "love-seeking person" and "love-searching person". At least these two seemed to me most natural of what was coming to my mind. What adjective would you invent?
Like: "I know he's a love-seeking person, but it'd be better if he was trying to find someone on appropriate websites
rather than here on a travel topic
."
I think there're simple adjectives for what I mean. But forming one with a participle makes it sound more processive like a process (?) / active (?) and thus more expressive, I guess.

The first thing coming to my mind is a verbal construction: "I know he's looking for love." Describing someone with a noun or adjective generally represents a persistent state, while a verb often allows the possibility of change. If you want the "persistent state" implication, you could use "a person looking for love", "the sort of person who looks for love", maybe even "a love seeker".
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Re: I have some questions

Postby LifeDeath » 2018-06-23, 12:26

Okay thanks.

Today I got confused a little by a simple topic. Are "either" and "both" interchangeable in some context?[*]
For example, when a friend asks me whether I want an apple or an orange and I say "I'd like either", does it mean that I want only one fruit or the two of them? Will it be different if I say 'I'd like both"?

Another example, I ask you about the appropriate use of two adjectives in a sentence and I provide them divided by a slash sign. Then you answer "Either is correct in this context". How should I interpret this? Well I guess I know how, but how does it differ from "Both are correct in this context". Don't both of these phrases mean "You can use the first adjective as well as the other from what you've provided"?


Can I use "as well" meaning "either" when agreeing with a negated statement?
Like: "Hey, I don't understand it!"
"That's alright, I don't understand it as well".


[*] I've wondered for years, is "context" a mass noun in English? So should I say "it may work in some context" or "it may work in some contexts"? And what about "try to use it in a different context" or "try to use it in different context".

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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-06-29, 16:23

LifeDeath wrote:Today I got confused a little by a simple topicquestion. Are "either" and "both" interchangeable in some contexts?[*]
For example, when a friend asks me whether I want an apple or an orange and I say "I'd like either", does it mean that I want only one fruit or the two of them? Will it be different if I say 'I'd like both"?

"Either" in this context means one out of the two options. If you want the apple and the orange, you need to say "both".

LifeDeath wrote:Another example: I ask you about the appropriate use of two adjectives in a sentence and I provide them divided by a slash sign. Then you answer "Either is correct in this context". How should I interpret this? Well I guess I know how, but how does it differ from "Both are correct in this context". Don't both of these phrases mean "You can use the first adjective as well as the other from what you've provided"?

In this case, "either" and "both" are synonymous.

LifeDeath wrote:Can I use "as well" meaning "either" when agreeing with a negated statement?
Like: "Hey, I don't understand it!"
"That's alright, I don't understand it as well".

Nope. "As well" is more or less a synonym of "also", which would be similarly unacceptable here. In your example, I would understand "as well" as an abbreviated clause, i.e. "I don't understand it as well [as you do/as I would like/etc.]".

LifeDeath wrote:[*] I've wondered for years, is "context" a mass noun in English? So should I say "it may work in some context" or "it may work in some contexts"? And what about "try to use it in a different context" or "try to use it in different context".

It can be either. In these examples, it would be a count noun because you are talking about specific sets of circumstances.

When context refers to the surrounding circumstances in a more general sense, it's a mass noun, e.g. "My lab is built around the premise that patterns and processes of evolution, change over time in the broadest sense, can only be understood in context."
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Re: I have some questions

Postby LifeDeath » 2018-07-02, 13:12

Thank you!

Is it possible in the Americam English to omit the "h" sound in the word "have"? I noticed that I've started doing so but I'm not sure whether that's acceptable or not. Or probably people pronounce it, but exhale so weakly that it usually always goes unvoiced.
For example, I suppose that I'd pronounce the phrase "I don't have it" as /aɪɾənævɪ⟨t⟩/ (I'm not sure if I've found a correct sign for a 'stop t' sound). So is it correct? Do people say it like this?
So you might remember this topic. In the video at 0:54 he said "Do you have a..." which sounded absolutely like there's no 'h' sound. I guess the whole phrase sounded like "Java" or something. So it is okay to speak like that in the US?



I saw this on a social network. The girl posted two photos and wanting her guests to choose a better one she asked "What do you like?" Is this a correct way to phrase a question? I don't know why, but I 'feel' like when a finite number of options is given, we prefer "which" to "what". I guess "what" is a general pronoun so it implies a more general answer.
I mean, if she asked "Which do you like?" I could say "I like the second one". But when she's asking "What do you like?" I think I can answer "I like drinking cold beer while watching some stupid soap operas on my TV at night.".
Don't you think so?

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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-07-02, 14:21

LifeDeath wrote:Is it possible in the Americam English to omit the "h" sound in the word "have"? I noticed that I've started doing so but I'm not sure whether that's acceptable or not. Or probably people pronounce it, but exhale so weakly that it usually always goes unvoiced.

/h/ in American English is almost always unvoiced. Maybe you mean "inaudible"?

LifeDeath wrote:For example, I suppose that I'd pronounce the phrase "I don't have it" as /aɪɾənævɪ⟨t⟩/ (I'm not sure if I've found a correct sign for a 'stop t' sound).

Perhaps what you want is a glottal stop. /t/ is already a stop.

LifeDeath wrote:So is it correct? Do people say it like this?

They do. I don't think I'd notice it in ordinary conversation, but the slower someone speaks, the most odd it would sound.

LifeDeath wrote:So you might remember this topic. In the video at 0:54 he says "Do you have a..." which sounded absolutely like there's no 'h' sound. I guess the whole phrase sounded like "Java" or something. So it is okay to speak like that in the US?

I'll listen to this later.

LifeDeath wrote:I saw this on a social network. The girl posted two photos and wanting her guests to choose a better one she asked "What do you like?" Is this a correct way to phrase a question? I don't know why, but I 'feel' like when a finite number of options is given, we prefer "which" to "what". I guess "what" is a general pronoun so it implies a more general answer.
I mean, if she asked "Which do you like?" I could say "I like the second one". But when she's asking "What do you like?" I think I can answer "I like drinking cold beer while watching some stupid soap operas on my TV at night.".
Don't you think so?

Yeah, which is preferable there. Perhaps this is a clipped version of "What one do you like?" which is more-or-less equivalent to "Which (one) do you like?" but more colloquial.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby LifeDeath » 2018-07-03, 15:31

linguoboy wrote:Perhaps what you want is a glottal stop. /t/ is already a stop.

What I mean is a situation when you pronounce the /t/ or /d/ sounds almost always at ends of words, so that you don't really pronounce them but sharply stop the flow of air through your mouth with your tounge being in position for making the /t/ but without doing the last movement. That's what this woman's talking about. But I'm not sure if she uses a correct IPA sign for it.

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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-07-03, 16:01

LifeDeath wrote:What I mean is a situation when you pronounce the /t/ or /d/ sounds almost always at ends of words, so that you don't really pronounce them but sharply stop the flow of air through your mouth with your tounge being in position for making the /t/ but without doing the last movement. That's what this woman's talking about. But I'm not sure if she uses a correct IPA sign for it.

The correct IPA for what she's describing is [t˺]. (The vertical line represents a lateral release, which is something completely different.) And the correct terminology is "[t] with no audible release" or "unreleased voiceless alveolar stop". Calling it a "stop t" is terribly misleading because--as I explained [t] is a stop whether you release it or not!

In any case, [t˺] easily becomes [ʔ], and not just in English. In American English, /t/ often becomes [ʔ] before or after /n/.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby LifeDeath » 2018-07-14, 15:23

Thank you.
I have a couple of small questions today.


When we talk about presents, do we use "give" or "gift"? So I think that "gift" already means "to give a present" and thus "to gift a present" sounds pleonastic. Do you think it does? Or is it a normal phrase?

Can "place" be used to mean "contain", "to have something inside"? Like in this example: "Your two eyes are so big I think they can place the whole world (in them)." If not, will "contain" sound good in such abstract contexts?

I'd like to ask about a construction that I've started noticing long aro but never worked it out so it's still problematic to me to understand it.
I sometimes notice "once" used with a past verb to mean something like "if try to do". Like "Once forgotten, it will never reach the threshold again". "Once did it, it'd be easier to do it in the future". (I'm not sure if the second option is correct, or maybe a pronoun is absolutely needed after "once").
Another example with eyes: "Your two eyes are so big, once looked in them, the sight would glue [*]".
So is it possible to say it like this? But here we have the past-tense expression, so if we want to shift it into present, do we change both verbs "once look in them, the sight will glue" or only the second verb "once looked in them, the sight will glue"? (I have doubts if "once + Ved" is correct at all, but when I hear "once + V" it sounds completely off. And combining a past verb after "once" with a present one in the second part of a sentence does also seem strange to me, like in the example with "will", not "would").
What can you say?

There's an expression "to be pure at heart". Do we also use "at" ahen talking about others abstract parts of a person? Soul, for example.
"He is so pure at heart but not at soul, how can it possibly be?"
"She's so pure at heart and beautiful at soul."

Are these correct?


* Do we need to use a passive construction here? "would be glued"? (the intended meaning is "it will be impossible to look away at something else because your eyes are charming") Or can it be used as a middle voice? How to understand where a middle voice is appropriate and where a difference between the active and the passive ones should be strictly abided?
Maybe the middle voice is expected and can be used in more poetic registers?

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Re: I have some questions

Postby Dormouse559 » 2018-07-14, 20:33

LifeDeath wrote:When we talk about presents, do we use "give" or "gift"? So I think that "gift" already means "to give a present" and thus "to gift a present" sounds pleonastic. Do you think it does? Or is it a normal phrase?

"Give" is more neutral. "Gift" is closer to "donate", i.e. "give in order to contribute to a cause or another's benefit". For example, a property owner might gift a building to a charity.

LifeDeath wrote:Can "place" be used to mean "contain", "to have something inside"? Like in this example: "Your two eyes are so big I think they can place the whole world (in them)." If not, will "contain" sound good in such abstract contexts?

"Place" cannot mean "contain". Your sentence probably sounds best like this: "Your two eyes are so big I think they could fit the whole world inside them". "Contain" in an abstract context often has an implication of restraining something. "Your two eyes are so big I think they could contain the whole world" makes it sound like the world is trying to get out.

LifeDeath wrote:I'd like to ask about a construction that I've started noticing long aro but never worked it out so it's still problematic to me to understand it.
I sometimes notice "once" used with a past verb to mean something like "if try to do". Like "Once forgotten, it will never reach the threshold again". "Once did it, it'd be easier to do it in the future". (I'm not sure if the second option is correct, or maybe a pronoun is absolutely needed after "once").
Another example with eyes: "Your two eyes are so big, once looked in them, the sight would glue [*]".
So is it possible to say it like this? But here we have the past-tense expression, so if we want to shift it into present, do we change both verbs "once look in them, the sight will glue" or only the second verb "once looked in them, the sight will glue"? (I have doubts if "once + Ved" is correct at all, but when I hear "once + V" it sounds completely off. And combining a past verb after "once" with a present one in the second part of a sentence does also seem strange to me, like in the example with "will", not "would").
What can you say?

You've misidentified the verb form. It's a past participle. There's an implied passive construction, so "once forgotten" can be thought of as "once it is forgotten". I'd rewrite your second sentence as "Once done, it will be easier to do in the future." Note how "once" doesn't trigger the subjunctive (EDIT: in that implied passive), so the proper tense for the next clause is future or present, assuming a present narrative. Your third sentence is better without a "once" construction. Perhaps "Your two eyes are so big that if someone looked into them, they would be transfixed / unable to look away."

I have to go. I'll look at your other questions later if no one else has answered.
Last edited by Dormouse559 on 2018-07-15, 16:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby Dormouse559 » 2018-07-15, 15:57

LifeDeath wrote:There's an expression "to be pure at heart". Do we also use "at" ahen talking about others abstract parts of a person? Soul, for example.
"He is so pure at heart but not at soul, how can it possibly be?"
"She's so pure at heart and beautiful at soul."

Are these correct?

No. To start, the more common phrasing is "pure of heart". You can list other parts after "pure of heart". I'd just say a few things: 1) "Pure of heart" is already a literary turn of phrase, and adding parts after it just makes it more literary. 2) There can be other "[adjective] of [part]" constructions, but they are rare and at least as literary as "pure of heart". 3) "So pure of heart" typically sounds best alone or with a simple listing of parts afterward, no buts or nots.

With those things in mind, I'd rephrase your first sentence as follows: "He is pure of heart but not of mind. How can it possibly be?"

Your second sentence could go like this: "She's so pure of heart and beautiful of soul." I think someone speaking off the top of their head would be more likely to say "She's so pure of heart and has a beautiful soul."
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Re: I have some questions

Postby LifeDeath » 2018-07-16, 17:16

Dormouse559 wrote:o start, the more common phrasing is "pure of heart". You can list other parts after "pure of heart". I'd just say a few things: 1) "Pure of heart" is already a literary turn of phrase, and adding parts after it just makes it more literary. 2) There can be other "[adjective] of [part]" constructions, but they are rare and at least as literary as "pure of heart". 3) "So pure of heart" typically sounds best alone or with a simple listing of parts afterward, no buts or nots.

With those things in mind, I'd rephrase your first sentence as follows: "He is pure of heart but not of mind. How can it possibly be?"

Your second sentence could go like this: "She's so pure of heart and beautiful of soul." I think someone speaking off the top of their head would be more likely to say "She's so pure of heart and has a beautiful soul."

Thanks for the answers. I've thought why I feel that "pure at heart" is idiomatic to me and I guess that's probably because I've heard it many times in the Queen song "Flash" where there's a sentence "No one but the pure at heart may find the golden grail". So is it incorrect to use it like this? In some sources it's "pure in heart". So if these are correct, how do they differ from "pure of heart"? Maybe there's some difference in meaning or connotation, or maybe that's a completely different structure grammatically.

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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-07-16, 17:27

LifeDeath wrote:I've thought about why I feel that "pure at heart" is idiomatic to me and I guess that's probably because I've heard it many times in the Queen song "Flash" where there's the sentence "No one but the pure at heart may find the golden grail". So is it incorrect to use it like this? In some sources it's "pure in heart". So if these are correct, how do they differ from "pure of heart"? Maybe there's some difference in meaning or connotation, or maybe that's a completely different structure grammatically.

It may just be contamination from the idiomatic qualifier at heart, which is more widespread and productive. Pure in heart is found in common English-language translations of the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
I don't perceive much difference between these three versions. They're yet more evidence of the highly arbitrary nature of prepositional usage in English.
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