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  1. #1
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Against dictionary?

    Most of the dictionaries say the verb "matter" is an intransitive verb. But when you say "That does not matter anything." or "That matters nothing.", do you feel that "matter" is intrarnsitive?

    Certain dictionaries say "anything" or "nothing" can be used as adverbs. Well, maybe. But isn't it strange even for you native speakers that "anything", "nothing" in the sentences above can be categorized as adverbs?

    Don't you have the feeling that grammatically the verb "matter" in "That does not matter anything." is the same as the verb, for example, "affect" in "That does not affect anything."? Doesn't it feel like they are both transitive verbs, and "anything"s are nouns, not adverbs?

    At least to me, thay are completely the same. There is no difference at all.

    I just don't get it...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Against dictionary?

    I'd say " anything and nothing " are pronoun here. :wink:

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    I'd say they function as adverbs giving the degree of mattering.

  4. #4
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I'd say they function as adverbs giving the degree of mattering. ;-)
    How would you differentiate "anything" in "That does not matter anything" from the one in "That does not affect anything" if you did not have any knowledge of grammer? I mean, what I'm interested in is the feel, or psychology of native speakers facing those "anything"s which are seemingly the same.

    Apart from what is generally stated in dictionaries, don't you think the feel of those "anything"s is the same when you use them in reality?

    I think henry says "Yes".

  5. #5
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Most of the dictionaries say the verb "matter" is an intransitive verb. But when you say "That does not matter anything." or "That matters nothing.", do you feel that "matter" is intrarnsitive?
    Yes, in my opinion, "matter" is an intransitive verb. There is no transfer of action from the subject to an object with "matter". It is a state of being. "To matter" means "to exist at a certain level of importance". One cannot use "exist" as a transitive verb. Something cannot exist something else. Something cannot matter something else.

    I would not use the sentences "that matters nothing" or "that does not matter anything". I would say "that does not matter" or "that matters not" or "that matters not at all" or "that doesn't matter at all".

    Certain dictionaries say "anything" or "nothing" can be used as adverbs. Well, maybe. But isn't it strange even for you native speakers that "anything", "nothing" in the sentences above can be categorized as adverbs?
    "Nothing" and "anything" can be an adverbs in rare uses.

    She looks nothing like her sister.
    She doesn't look anything like her sister.

    If one were to use "that matters nothing" or "that doesn't matter anything", the uses would be similar to those in my examples.

    Don't you have the feeling that grammatically the verb "matter" in "That does not matter anything." is the same as the verb, for example, "affect" in "That does not affect anything."? Doesn't it feel like they are both transitive verbs, and "anything"s are nouns, not adverbs?
    No, not at all. When something affects something else, it causes a change in that something else. Something cannot matter something else.

    :wink:

  6. #6
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Against dictionary?

    Thanks for the detailed explanation, Mike (as always)!

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    She looks nothing like her sister.
    She doesn't look anything like her sister.
    Isn't it possible to interpret "nothing/anything" as nouns and "like" as prepositions?

    I know the examples you put are in many dictionaries, but I didn't know such nothing/anything was categorized as an adverb until I opened my dictionary (It was a shock to me, really).

  7. #7
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Thanks for the detailed explanation, Mike (as always)!

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    She looks nothing like her sister.
    She doesn't look anything like her sister.
    Isn't it possible to interpret "nothing/anything" as nouns and "like" as prepositions?

    I know the examples you put are in many dictionaries, but I did't know such nothing/anything was categorized as an adverb until I opened my dictionary (It was a shock to me, really).
    They can't be nouns or pronouns acting as direct objects here. The sense of the sentence in not disturbed by removing them (except for losing the negation in senetnce one).

    She looks like her sister.
    She doesn't look like her sister.

  8. #8
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    They can't be nouns or pronouns acting as direct objects here.
    Yes, I know that. But isn't it possible to use nouns or pronouns as complements of the verb "look"?

  9. #9
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    They can't be nouns or pronouns acting as direct objects here.
    Yes, I know that. But isn't it possible to use nouns or pronouns as complements of the verb "look"?
    Yes it is.

    One can say "John looked him in the eye."

    If you remove "him", you get "John looked in the eye". The meaning changes from looked at him face to face to doing an eye examination.

    This use of "look" means "appears" and the complement is "like her sister" not "nothing/anything.

  10. #10
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    [
    One can say "John looked him in the eye."
    Wa..wait a minute, Mike. Isn't "him" above a direct object and "looked" a transitive verb?

    The complement I mean in this case is a word like, say, "a doctor" in "He became a doctor", which explains (therefore, complements) "he".

    My question is, isn't it possible to use nouns as such complements for "look"?

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