Does it sound right?

Moderator: JackFrost

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 628
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

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?

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 24779
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

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.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
Dormouse559
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 6813
Joined: 2010-05-30, 0:06
Real Name: Matthew
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

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.
N'hésite pas à corriger mes erreurs.

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 628
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

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?

User avatar
Rí.na.dTeangacha
Posts: 223
Joined: 2020-12-31, 20:24
Gender: male
Location: Baile Átha Cliath, Éire
Country: IE Ireland (Éire / Ireland)

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".
(pt-br)(ga)(ja) - Formerly Ciarán12

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 24779
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

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.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
Dormouse559
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 6813
Joined: 2010-05-30, 0:06
Real Name: Matthew
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

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".
N'hésite pas à corriger mes erreurs.

Linguaphile
Posts: 3554
Joined: 2016-09-17, 5:06

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.

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 628
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

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 :)

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 628
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Woods » 2021-06-27, 18:01

Does "either" require only two things?

Can one say "in either this or that or that" - i.e. three things coming after it?

I'm doing it sometimes but does it sound too bad? Should I go "in any of this and that and that"?


And a few more:

1. Which is better "something you say on a date with someone" or "something you say at a date"?

2. "He lets you say whatever you want to say, having no idea wherever it might be going." - Can wherever be used this way to emphasise the undefinedness of the object or should it just be replaced with "where"?

3. Is it understandable if you say that somebody goes home and tries to "melt it", meaning that they need time to understand something that has been said or has happened to them? If not, what would you replace with?

Linguaphile
Posts: 3554
Joined: 2016-09-17, 5:06

Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-06-29, 4:04

Woods wrote:Does "either" require only two things?

Can one say "in either this or that or that" - i.e. three things coming after it?

I'm doing it sometimes but does it sound too bad? Should I go "in any of this and that and that"?

Yes, it can be used with more than two items, but some speakers would prefer to use "any" in place of "either" when there are more than two.

Woods wrote:1. Which is better "something you say on a date with someone" or "something you say at a date"?

Personally I would say "something you say on a date", but both are used.

Woods wrote:2. "He lets you say whatever you want to say, having no idea wherever it might be going." - Can wherever be used this way to emphasise the undefinedness of the object or should it just be replaced with "where"?

It should be "where". If you want to emphasize it, you can add to it: "...having no idea at all where it might be going", "...having no idea where it might be going at all", "...having no idea whatsoever where it might be going".

Woods wrote:3. Is it understandable if you say that somebody goes home and tries to "melt it", meaning that they need time to understand something that has been said or has happened to them? If not, what would you replace with?

You could say someone goes home and "reflects on it", "thinks it over", "takes/needs time to let it sink in". They aren't exactly the same. With "reflect" and "think it over", the person might be making a decision or might just be trying to understand a perspective; the context often involves a person changing their mind or making up their mind about something. "Let it sink in" refers more to surprising or shocking information that the person needs some time to get used to in order to understand what they have been told. Maybe when they are first told the information, they don't really believe it, or they are too overwhelmed at that time to really understand it, so they need time for it to sink in before they will fully believe and/or understand it. I think this is probably what you are looking for? It's often used with "let", so either "...goes home and lets it sink in" / "...goes home to let it sink in" or "goes home and tries to let it sink in" / "...goes home and tries to give it time to sink in" (if you want to keep the word "tries" in there).

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 628
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Woods » 2021-07-01, 22:57

Linguaphile wrote:...

Thanks!


Linguaphile wrote:
Woods wrote:3. Is it understandable if you say that somebody goes home and tries to "melt it", meaning that they need time to understand something that has been said or has happened to them? If not, what would you replace with?

You could say someone goes home and "reflects on it", "thinks it over", "takes/needs time to let it sink in". They aren't exactly the same. With "reflect" and "think it over", the person might be making a decision or might just be trying to understand a perspective; the context often involves a person changing their mind or making up their mind about something. "Let it sink in" refers more to surprising or shocking information that the person needs some time to get used to in order to understand what they have been told. Maybe when they are first told the information, they don't really believe it, or they are too overwhelmed at that time to really understand it, so they need time for it to sink in before they will fully believe and/or understand it. I think this is probably what you are looking for? It's often used with "let", so either "...goes home and lets it sink in" / "...goes home to let it sink in" or "goes home and tries to let it sink in" / "...goes home and tries to give it time to sink in" (if you want to keep the word "tries" in there).

So "melt it" wouldn't be understood even if it's unidiomatic? Actually I am not sure where is the line between trying to say things in a way nobody has said them before and sounding non-native. That's why I'm asking questions like that.

After this and that happens, he goes home and tries to let it sink in before he decides what to do next. - I think that sounds good indeed. It doesn't have a negative connotation, does it?


I have some more questions:

1) Pretty messed-up a situation.

Is "messed-up" attributive to "situation" if the latter comes with an indefinite article?

I am asking because I'm wondering if I should put the hyphen.


2) synonyms of "dancing"

dancing, shaking, moving - what other verbs or nouns could be used for dancing in a modern, night-club context?

I'm working on one paragraph where the word is used like ten times and I figured I'm very short of ways to replace it.

I would prefer some classier words to modern-pop-culture and ghetto slang, however it should be something that would be understood in the context of dancing in a night club. I can't think of anything, and synonym dictionaries are not very helpful.


3) "In your words, you are provocative" - is this understood as "when you speak, you are provocative" or "you are saying that you are provocative"? Or can it be both? If it's the latter, will saying "with your words, you are provocative" instead of "in your words..." make it the former?


4) How is the phrase "grab somebody by the crotch" understood ? If you hear that somebody grabs someone by the crotch, will you imagine that somebody pulls someone in an overtly sexual way by grabbing their bottom and pulling them close to themselves for example, or that they're putting their hand on their genitals?


5) a dimwit - according to dictionaries, it's a stupid person, but I am not sure to understand the connotations

I remember someone advising "don't use words like 'retarded,'" because it might be offending to people with mental disadvantages.

So in a phrase of the kind "if you are an idiot, ..." followed by instructions about something extra to think about or consider that people are usually expected to know by common sense, would it be convenient to replace "idiot" with "dimwit"? And are there other words that you might suggest?

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 628
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Does it sound right?

Postby Woods » 2021-07-23, 16:10

Dormouse559 wrote:
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.




I'm looking at that same phrase again:


"The more experienced one is in that thing, the more likely he or she is to know what they want from it and to wait until they find it."


I guess I left it like that cause I couldn't find any combination of "one" "they" and "he or she" which wouldn't be either repetitive or unidiomatic.


Are there any combinations of the three that do not sound weird to a native?


We have four indefinite pronouns in the same sentence and I would assume that using any of the three options four times would be repetitive.

We cannot start with "he or she" or "they" because we haven't introduced a subject yet, so the only possible start is "one." I guess a better solution would be:


"The more experienced one is in that thing, the more likely he or she is to know what he or she wants from it and to wait until he or she finds it."

But does that sounds very repetitive and gives the impression of a change of subject, right?


The alternatives would be:

"The more experienced one is in that thing, the more likely one is to know what one wants from it and to wait until one finds it." (one x4 and I somehow miss the referral to a masculine or feminine pronoun - but is that the best option?)


"The more experienced one is in that thing, the more likely they are to know what they want from it and to wait until they find it." (as I understood this is unclear as if it's referring to another subject).


I've changed a couple of verbs because I don't want to paste the original text but the general meaning and proportion of pronouns are almost the same.


And if nothing is possible without breaking the sentence in two, is the initial phrase way to bad to be left in a book or is it tolerable?


Return to “English”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests