Site Search:
 

Banner

Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index Teacher Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

usage of expression "to lose focus of"

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Applied Linguistics
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: usage of expression "to lose focus of" Reply with quote

Hello,
According to the Macmillan online dictionary, the meaning of the word "focus" is the following: "to concentrate on something and pay particular attention to it." Can you use the expression "lose focus of (something)" to mean that you stopped paying attention to something, stopped concentrating on it? In other words, do the following sentences make sense and are they grammatically correct?
1. When my colleague distracted me, I lost focus of the email I was writing.
2. When I heard my neighbor's screams, I lost focus of what I was doing.
3. When my classmate kept asking me questions, I lost focus of what my teacher was saying.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3012
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is one of those items that isn't in dictionaries (doesn't that ever give you or your students any pause for thought LOL), but that people would probably pass over silently enough - until you asked them to comment regarding the acceptability of it, that is!

Possible alternatives (other than 'could no longer concentrate on' etc) could be: 'lose track of sthg' (seems suited to vague activities phrased 'what X be v-ing', but with more definite objects would suggest you actually lost/couldn't find them: I lost track of the email I was writing), and 'lose the thread of sthg' (which would appear suited to all your examples).

Another reason for mentioning 'lose track of sthg' and 'lose the thread of sthg' is that there is an obvious difference between them, namely the definite article 'the'...which could be one reason for the possible aversion to/relative unattestedness of 'lose focus of'; that is, I think one can 'lose focus' (and in this more or less set phrase lose only that, just the lone object 'focus'), or 'focus on sthg', or talk about 'the focus/aim of sthg is blah blah blah', and finally, say that you 'lost the focus of the email you were writing' (so that it became unfocussed, and badly-written as a result), but 'lose focus of' perhaps sounds like it is missing the article or something (compare *lose thread of; *focus of this post is...).

So I guess that without the 'the' breaking things up into a more explicit verb + noun, there could be a tension of sorts between the verbal process of you "losing focus" (not that the 'focus' in 'lose focus' is a second verb in series or anything - it's still a noun here!), versus the nominal i.e. noun "focus of the thing you were doing". (I find colons help in these sorts of cases - compare ?I lost: focus: of the email I was writing with I lost: the focus of the email I was writing).

But like I say, I doubt if most people would object to it unless you specifically asked them about it.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:53 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:03 pm    Post subject: thank you very much Reply with quote

Hello,
Once again, thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
Best wishes,
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Applied Linguistics All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Teachers College, Columbia University: Train to Teach English Here or Abroad
SIT

This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group