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hate isn't a strong enough word

 
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hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:17 pm    Post subject: hate isn't a strong enough word Reply with quote

Hello,
What does it mean if "something (a word) isn't a strong enough word"? For example, in the following sentence:
Maria: I like to go shopping. Mike: “Like” isn’t a strong enough word, you "love to go shopping.
If a word isn't strong enough, does it mean the word doesn't properly, correctly, accurately describe how good, bad, impressive etc., something really is? I think it also means that the word doesn't describe your feeling properly. Is my understanding of the expression correct?
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3010
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd call it 'negating what the speaker has just said by rephrasing it (and indeed, more strongly) for humorous/conversational effect'.

I think however that there is such a thing as questioning too much - if you or your students can't ever simply appreciate what's being said without always asking and/or posing "But how do we understand what that means?", then there are either basic comprehension problems or something a bit more "unresolvable" going on. That is, the continual questioning or explaining must surely be taking a lot of the potential pleasure out of whatever communicating is actually taking place (or quite arguably and likely, NOT really taking place!). Ultimately there are some things that one either "gets" or doesn't...I guess it's a bit like explaining a joke (perhaps repeatedly) to somebody lacking the necessary sense of humour.

It might help to use simple translation to sometimes make this clear - ask the students 'How would you say that in Chinese?'. Chances are that quite often, things will be more or less the same in each language, so why should it be just the foreign language that's (being made into!) such a problem?!

Anyway, a more straightforward phrasing of the negation would be for Mike to reply You don't (just) like shopping, you LOVE it! But these sorts of conversational turns don't always need to involve explicit/syntactic negation and may therefore just involve rephrasing by way of simple expansion - for example, in A Single Man (which I watched the other night), Julianne Moore's character in a phone conversation asks Colin Firth's to get her a particular brand of gin because she 'likes the bottle', to which IIRC he jokingly replies 'You like what's IN the bottle!'. Laughing Smile
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hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:36 pm    Post subject: thanks Reply with quote

Hello,
Thank you for your answer.
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