[MUD-Dev] English grammar thoughts

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon Oct 22 21:04:47 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Mon 22 Oct, Travis Casey wrote:
> On Saturday 20 October 2001 12:49, Kylotan wrote:

>> For some intents and purposes, you can consider 'wave' to be a
>> single verb that is simply used in different grammatical
>> contexts, but not really this case.

> Why not?  The action of "waving" is the same either way.

Actually no.  I am no specialist on english grammar, but 'to wave'
is a verb that requires no object (though it may have a direct one)
while 'to wave at' always requires an indirect object (and may have
a direct one). I.e. 'You wave' is correct and complete sentence but
'You wave at' is not.  So, while the action described by thew word
'wave' is the same in both cases, they are not really the same.
This is different from 'to look' and 'to look at' which have really
different meanings and merely share the word look because they both
involve using they eyes.  That is, in the example given.  'To look'
can also be used in the same way as 'to wave' of course. I think it
is called a passive subject from the way the verb is used in a sen-
tence like 'You look red', but I could easily be mistaken here.

>  If "to > wave at" is a different verb, than are "to wave in the
>  direction of" > and "to wave towards" also different verbs?
>  These are simply > modifying phrases indicating the direction in
>  which one is waving.

They are synomyms, which is not quite the same ;)

>> Compare "to look" with "to look at" for a clearer example: "to
>> look" = "to appear" whereas "to look at" = "to watch".

> Not necessarily.  "He looks north" does not mean that someone
> appears to be north, whatever that would mean -- it means that he
> is watching in the direction north.

'To look' and 'to look' are homonyms (the same words used for dif-
ferent meanings). One has the synonym 'to appear' and the other 'to
be' (we'll not exactly synonyms of course, but those verbs are des-
criptive of the difference in usage, and can be substituted without
losing too much meaning).

>> Different verbs, they just happen to share a word when you use
>> certain synonyms.

Homonyms actually.

> Yes... but that's not the case with "wave".  It indicates the same
> fundamental action -- that of moving an object back-and-forth a
> few times -- whether or not it has "at X", "towards X", "to X",
> etc.

Gramatically speaking the two are different though.


There is a reason why nobody really understands grammer, you know :)

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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