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    Default swim against the tide

    Is this a real English?
    - She swims against the tide by living an ordinary life and pay no attention on accumulative effect on a large sum of money like others.

  2. #2
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    Is this a real English?
    - She swims against the tide by living an ordinary life and pay no attention on accumulative effect on a large sum of money like others.
    No, this is not ordinary English. Its meaning is unclear, to say the least.

    1) She "swims against the tide" is the opposite of "living an ordinary life."

    2) Since she is LIVING an ordinary life, she should be PAYING no attention
    - this matching of verb forms (the "ing" form in this case) is called "parallelism," and it is a grammar fault to fail to make the verbs parallel

    3) the expression is "pay no attention TO" (not ON)

    4) "THE cumulative" effectS I think, not "accumulated effect"

    5) Probably "effect ON" should be "effect OF"

    5) It is impossible to tell what sentence means toward the end -- it's that "like others" that messes the meaning up

    "She swims against the tide by living an ordinary life and paying no attention to the cumulative effects of a large sum of money like others."

    Possibly it means "UNLIKE others, she lives an ordinary life, paying no attention to the cumulative effects of a large sum of money."

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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    "She swims against the tide by living an ordinary life and paying no attention to the cumulative effects of a large sum of money like others."

    Possibly it means "UNLIKE others, she lives an ordinary life, paying no attention to the cumulative effects of a large sum of money."[/QUOTE]

    Actually, all I want to do is to use this idiom "swim against the tide" appears in correct senses of real English in sentences. This example of mine occurred to mean that she isn't like others who almost tend to gather as much money as they can to be as rich as they could and lead among wealthy lives.

    So, Did that sentence give the same idea as I wish it to be?

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    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    Yes, I understand your meaning.

    "To swim against the tide" means to do the opposite of the common trend.

    "She swims against the tide in all her fashion choices."
    This means she does not wear the same styles as everyone else.

    "You're planning on selling your car and using the bus? Well, that is certainly swimming against the tide."
    This means that everyone else prefers to drive to work, but this person wants to take a bus.

    I don't think it is the best expression to show a deviation from all of humanity's historically universal instincts.

    "She swims against the tide because she is not interested in health or wealth."
    In this case, "swimming against the tide" is a too weak to describe this degree of opposition to the rest of humanity; it says too little about this attitude of hers.

    "She swims against the tide in that she is not interested in accumulating a lot of money."
    This is your sentence, and it is a good use of the expression (but maybe a little weak to describe an attitude that is contrary to such a wide-spread attitude as "accumulating wealth.")

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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    "She swims against the tide in that she is not interested in accumulating a lot of money."
    This is your sentence, and it is a good use of the expression (but maybe a little weak to describe an attitude that is contrary to such a wide-spread attitude as "accumulating wealth.")[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for your explanation. I think I'll try a better one.

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    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    Thank you for your explanation. I think I'll try a better one.
    Unless this is merely an exercise in using English idioms, I think it would be better not to use this phrase at all -- or any "pre-packaged" phrases at all.

    Writing is flabby and dull when it consists of tired old ideas expressed in tired old phrases. People can hardly keep their attention pinned to the real message, because the superficial and pre-made "one size fits all" message gets in their way.

    Instead, I think writers should work to find the most direct, vivid, and exact way to say what they mean.

    "She had no interest in accumulating wealth."

    I assure you that your readers do not need to be informed that this is somewhat unusual; whatever you add to tell them what they already think is not only wasted, it is a distraction that weakens the sentence.

    If you want to demonstrate the use of English idioms, then:

    Diana always swam against the tide. In high school, she didn't join any of the clubs. In college, she was the only woman studying Electrical Engineering. After she graduated, instead of getting a job, she bought a maple tree farm in Vermont to live "off the grid."

    Even here, a better topic sentence would be
    Diana always acted contrary to stereotype. In high school, she . . .etc

    This is not only more exact, it is more arresting because it's not a pre-made thought.

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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    Diana always swam against the tide. In high school, she didn't join any of the clubs. In college, she was the only woman studying Electrical Engineering. After she graduated, instead of getting a job, she bought a maple tree farm in Vermont to live "off the grid."

    Even here, a better topic sentence would be
    Diana always acted contrary to stereotype. In high school, she . . .etc

    This is not only more exact, it is more arresting because it's not a pre-made thought.[/QUOTE]
    Thank you for your explanation, it's a crystal clear one to me.

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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    Thank you for your explanation, it's a crystal clear one to me.


    Best wishes in your studies!

    ~ Ann

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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    Dear Ann 1977
    What about these 2 sentences of mine? Are they allright in good sense?

    -Eventhough she is still in debt, Sarah swam against the tide again by not cash a cheque for 100 thousand dollars from the government lottery but gave(raised) it to charity for disabled children in some hospital this time.

    - Steven swam against the tide when he denied (refused) to accept a Hall of Fame for the best star of Hollywood this year and lead his ordinary life.


    PS I need more examples of this idiom

  10. #10
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    Default Re: swim against the tide

    -Eventhough
    Even though

    she is still in debt,
    (fine)

    Sarah swam against the tide again
    (Not a good use of this idiom)
    Sarah astounded her friends
    Sarah gave her banker fits
    Sarah used bad judgment
    Sarah responded to a higher morality

    by not cash a cheque
    by not cashING a check
    (in the US "check;" in the UK, "cheque")


    for 100 thousand dollars
    for $100,000
    (if you are abroad, maybe US$100,000 or something similar)

    from the government lottery
    (This is fine)

    but gave(raised) it
    SHE "gave" it.
    The charity "raised" it

    to charity for disabled children
    to a charity for disabled children
    to charity


    instead.

    in some hospital this time.
    (I think the sentence could do without this ending)

    ---------------------------------------

    - Steven swam against the tide
    This is an okay use of the term

    when he denied (refused) to accept
    when he refused to accept

    a Hall of Fame
    an Emmy

    for the best star of Hollywood this year
    for this year's Best Actor

    and
    but

    lead his ordinary life.
    decided instead to lead his ordinary life.
    --------------------------------------------

    I think that the saying "to swim against the tide" is used like this:
    > to describe either a single act or a constant tendency to behave in a way
    > that is not in the same flow of the ordinary way to act.
    > But it does not describe actions that are violently or extremely unusual, bizarre, nutty, outrageous, outlandish, etc.

    - A student who brings a gun to school is not "swimming against the tide."
    That is far too mild an expression to apply to a criminal act with violent intent.
    - A student who isn't interested in going to the Prom is swimming against the tide.

    - Renouncing secular life to become an anchorite is not "swimming against the tide."
    That is too mild an expression to describe such a profound opting out of the ordinary way to live.
    - Not bothering to own a television is swimming against the tide.

    - "At the height of Beatlemania, LouEllen swam against the tide by collecting Brahms concertos."

    - "Danika decided to go emo, but she was swimming against the tide because all her friends were goth."
    (This use stresses the implication of "uphill labor" that is sometimes present in the saying.)

    - "In his working-class town of dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, Stephen swam against the tide by supporting Republicans."

    NOTE: Dear Student:

    I kind of hate providing those examples. I don't think you should use this tired old expression at all. It seems to me that each of the last three examples I posted here would be much better with that phrase simply deleted.
    Last edited by Ann1977; 20-Sep-2009 at 01:17.

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