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Thread: forever

  1. #1
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default forever

    It's impossible to work forever.
    You are unable to work forever.
    You are prohibited from working forever.

    Which do these mean?
    1: You can never work.
    2: You cannot work for the time being, but maybe you can some time in the future (i.e partial negation)

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: forever

    None of the first three mean either 1 or 2.

    Rover

  3. #3
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: forever

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Taka:

    (1) Since I am 75 years old, your question really interested me.

    (2) Please remember that "forever" is really two words: for + ever ("always").

    (3) Does anyone live forever? Of course, not. (We must all die.)

    (4) Nothing can last forever. Everything will come to an end someday.

    (a) I have read that in a few million years, even this planet (earth) will burn up. So there will no more

    human beings here. (By then, I guess, human beings will be living on other planets.)

    (5) Thus:

    "It is impossible to work forever" = Are you working now? That's great! Do you love your job? That's great!
    Do you want to work forever? Sorry, that is impossible. You are a human being. That means you will die one day.
    So no one can work forever! (And before people die, many of them get sick and weak, so they cannot work anyway.)


    HAVE A NICE DAY!

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: forever

    I agree. I read the first one as meaning "Work without ceasing is impossible." The second is essentially the same. The third is therefore semantic nonsense, like saying "I forbid you to hold your breath without ceasing" or "I forbid you to jump up in the air and not land."

    Similar to "You can't avoid me forever" (I will catch up with you at some point in the future.)

    There is no partial negation of any sort.

    You are forever prohibited from working -- This is possible, but a bit archaic sounds, as a way to say "You prohibited now and you always will be."

    You need to stick with "never" for your intended meaning.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 10-Apr-2012 at 22:37.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: forever

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (a) I have read that in a few million billion years, even this planet (earth) will burn up.
    FTFY.

  6. #6
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: forever

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I agree. I read the first one as meaning "Work without ceasing is impossible." The second is essentially the same. The third is therefore semantic nonsense, like saying "I forbid you to hold your breath without ceasing" or "I forbid you to jump up in the air and not land."
    Barb, do you think 'forever impossible to do/forever unable to do/forever prohibited from doing' is semantically different from 'impossible to do forever/unable to do forever/prohibited from doing forever'? If you do, what do you think the difference is?

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