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  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me the glaring contradiction between both connotations of “pretend” in the following sentences?

    Let’s pretend to be robbers.

    We’re only pretending.

    He pretends to be asleep.

    He pretends to be very busy.

    He pretended illness as a reason for one’s absence.

    Boys pretending that they are pirates.

    He pretended ignorance, hoping to avoid being fired for breaking the law.

    pretend = represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like; state insincerely; to make believe

    He pretends to her hand.

    There are not many persons who pretend to an exact knowledge of the subject.

    Surely he does not pretend to intelligence.

    The young man pretended to the throne.

    pretend = put forward a claim and assert right or possession of

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 23-Nov-2009 at 13:40.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    Where do you see a contradiction>?

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    Both make a claim, with one set doing so obviously and transparently (for fun), and the other set doing so seriously. The denotative meanings are exactly similar, only the connotations are fairly distinct.

  4. #4
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    Hi Anglika,

    Thank you for your well-founded amendments.

    Here are a few arguments in conformation of my words concerning the presence of a glaring contradiction between both connotations of “pretend”:

    To the best of my knowledge, there are two main connotation of the verb in question:

    1. pretend (v) = to give a false appearance of; feign (false)

    2. pretend (v) = to put forward a claim; to make pretensions (true)

    Here are two simple sentences:

    She pretends to be an expert on wine. (as a matter of fact she is a100% dilettant) (false)

    She pretends to be an expert on wine. (indeed, she is a wine taster with proven merit) (true)

    If the deeds of a person (in this instance the French taster from Shampagne) belie her words there is a 100 contradiction between the two interpretation of the present sentences.

    In my humble opinion the true contradicts to false, as reability to unreability, or reality to forgery, or genuine to counterfeit, or certainty to affectation.

    The interpretation of “pretend” in my native language has two discrepant connotations.

    Regards,

    V.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    She pretends to be an expert on wine. (as a matter of fact she is a 100% dilettant) dilettante.)

    (Verb, intransitive): She pretends to expertise in oenology.(She claims she has expertise/is an expert - it might or might not be true. The fact that the person uses the phrasing 'pretends to' suggests they are, at least, doubtful - or want some proof of it! They are reporting her claim to have expertise, but they have no proof/information that she is an expert/has expertise.)

    oenology: the study of wines
    Last edited by Excalibur; 23-Nov-2009 at 15:24.

  6. #6
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    I think I understand your point. There are two definitions of pretend. The first one (to give a false appearance of; feign) is often used and is well-understood. The other one is very rarely used and most people wouldn't know it. (It's the one implied in the phrase "pretender to the throne".) You don't even need to learn it. Certainly, we wouldn't say a person pretends to be a wine expert if she really is a wine expert.



  7. #7
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    Looking from the present back on the term, it does look like that. But it's really the one is a litote of the other, with the same basic meaning. This is also the case with "yet" meaning both still and nevertheless -- it's the one meaning that enables the other, if you look closely.
    Last edited by konungursvia; 23-Nov-2009 at 17:12. Reason: sp

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Looking rom the present back on the term, it does look like that. But it's really the one is a litote of the other, with the same basic meaning. This is also the case with "yet" meaning both still and nevertheless -- it's the one meaning that enables the other, if you look closely.
    Well, I had to look up litotes.
    .


    (You are almost certainly right that the meanings are related, but much more common, I think, is the meaning used in the sentence He pretends he is a doctor, but he doesn't have a medical degree.)


  9. #9
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    I guess "clever understatement" is a better expression of what I meant, in English language terms.

    But interestingly, even your example there is like the optical illusion of the old lady / young fashionable lady, the famous drawing from the 19th C. in that it correctly admits two interpretations, which nevertheless amount to the same thing: He makes believe he is a doctor but doesn't have a medical degree.... He makes the claim he's a doctor, but he doesn't have a medical degree. Their interpretation can be made under 2 assumptions, (that pretend means fake or that it merely means claim); but if you take the second, you see it's actually the same, just a form of understatement.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: a glaring contradictions between two connotations of "pretend"

    konungursvia: But it's really the one is a litote of the other,

    The word is actually 'litotes' - another word that may be rattling around in some brains, including mine and konungursvia's**, but that you needn't bother about.

    I guess it's the final 's,' that people think it's plural, so "litote" is the singular.


    ...and the day I stop making mistakes, call the undertaker.

    **The impolite transposition - I should have mentioned the other person first - is because I am about to rubbish the word 'litotes', and want the blame for even knowing this word to fall more on me rather than konungursvia.
    Last edited by Excalibur; 24-Nov-2009 at 20:48.

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