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Thread: ashamed of

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default ashamed of

    I was ashamed of speaking to him.

    Did I speak to him or not?

  2. #2
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Good question!
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  3. #3
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: ashamed of

    Quote Originally Posted by navi
    I was ashamed of speaking to him.

    Did I speak to him or not?
    Navi,

    If you said "I am ashamed to speak with him", my guess is that you have not yet spoken to them.

    If you said "I was ashamed to speak with him", I think it is a bit ambiguous and not certain given the context.

    For example:

    A1: "Why did you not speak with him?"
    B1: "I was ashamed to speak with him."

    A2: "Why did react like that after speaking with him?"
    B2: "I was ashamed to speak with him, so that's why I reacted like that."

    A3: "How did you find your aural test?"
    B3: "At first I was ashamed to speak with the examiner because I worried about my grasp of the language, but as time went on I relaxed a bit and no longer felf ashamed."

    Red5
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  4. #4
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Thanks Red5, but the problem is that you have changed the sentence.
    "I was ashamed OF SPEAKING..." not "TO speak"!
    I had asked the "to speak" one before! I think it was Mike who had answered it.
    "I was ashamed of speaking to him."

  5. #5
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    A1: "Why did you not speak with him?"
    B1: "I was ashamed of speaking with him."

    A2: "Why did react like that after speaking with him?"
    B2: "I was ashamed of speaking with him, so that's why I reacted like that."

    A3: "How did you find your aural test?"
    B3: "At first I was ashamed of speaking with the examiner because I worried about my grasp of the language, but as time went on I relaxed a bit and no longer felf ashamed."

    There doesn't seem to be much difference, but I might well be wrong. I'll duck out and let the real teachers take over before I confuse the hell out of everyone!
    Red5
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    Default Re: ashamed of

    Quote Originally Posted by navi
    I was ashamed of speaking to him.

    Did I speak to him or not?
    I kind of like Red 5's suggestions. Moreover, Speaking to him is what I was ashamed of. (Noun) The emphasis here is on the act, not the action. Note there's a linking verb. In other words, it's the act of speaking, that I was ashamed of at the time. Whether I spoke to him or not, is unknown to the reader because it's not stated. :)

  7. #7
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: ashamed of

    Quote Originally Posted by navi
    I was ashamed of speaking to him.

    Did I speak to him or not?
    In my opinion, you did speak to him. The original version "I was ashamed to speak to him", is ambiguous and, as we stated before, we could add "too" to that to clear it up. "I was too ashamed to speak with him" would imply that you did not speak to him.

    This new version changes an infinitive "to speak" to a gerund "(of) speaking". We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action. When one says "I was ashamed to speak to him", the potential conversation is making one uncomfortable, but one might have overcome the discomfort. When one says "I was ashamed of speaking to him", it is a real action that caused the shame. I would, therefore, conclude that you spoke to him and that made you ashamed.

    :wink:

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    Default Re: ashamed of

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action.
    Well, that is definitely the case 'in some constructions':

    I like to walk. (potential)
    I like walking. (concrete)

    However, in the case of 'was ashamed of', we have a State of being 'ashamed': be + participle + 'of', with focus on the state of being:

    I was ashamed of speaking to him.

    As is, we do not know if the speaking event happened or didn't happen. Additional context would be required to determine that. :wink:

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    Default Re: ashamed of

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Quote Originally Posted by navi
    I was ashamed of speaking to him.

    Did I speak to him or not?
    In my opinion, you did speak to him. The original version "I was ashamed to speak to him", is ambiguous and, as we stated before, we could add "too" to that to clear it up. "I was too ashamed to speak with him" would imply that you did not speak to him.

    This new version changes an infinitive "to speak" to a gerund "(of) speaking". We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action. When one says "I was ashamed to speak to him", the potential conversation is making one uncomfortable, but one might have overcome the discomfort. When one says "I was ashamed of speaking to him", it is a real action that caused the shame. I would, therefore, conclude that you spoke to him and that made you ashamed.

    :wink:
    What about " I am ashamed of speaking to him?"

    In my opinion, I haven't started yet to speak to him, right?

    And If you put this sentence into past tense, then the result remains the same, only the time of event is changed.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ashamed of

    Quote Originally Posted by henry
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Quote Originally Posted by navi
    I was ashamed of speaking to him.

    Did I speak to him or not?
    In my opinion, you did speak to him. The original version "I was ashamed to speak to him", is ambiguous and, as we stated before, we could add "too" to that to clear it up. "I was too ashamed to speak with him" would imply that you did not speak to him.

    This new version changes an infinitive "to speak" to a gerund "(of) speaking". We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action. When one says "I was ashamed to speak to him", the potential conversation is making one uncomfortable, but one might have overcome the discomfort. When one says "I was ashamed of speaking to him", it is a real action that caused the shame. I would, therefore, conclude that you spoke to him and that made you ashamed.

    :wink:
    What about " I am ashamed of speaking to him?"

    In my opinion, I haven't started yet to speak to him, right?

    And If you put this sentence into past tense, then the result remains the same, only the time of event is changed.
    I'm sure Mike will respond soon. In the meantime, consider the following:

    I am ashamed of speaking to him is ambiguous. It could mean,

    1. I am ashamed of speaking to him, so I won't speak to him.
    2. I am ashamed of speaking to him, but despite the fact that I feel ashamed, I will overcome that feeling and speak to him anyway.

    I was ashamed of speaking to him is also ambiguous:

    1. I was ashamed, so I didn't speak to him.
    2. I was ashamed, but I spoke to him anyway.

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