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  1. #11
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    [quote="Taka"]
    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?
    Yes, it is. Looked can be a transitive verb. That is an example of look with a pronoun complement.

    The complement I mean in this case is a word like, say, "a doctor" in "He became a doctor", which explains (therefore, complements) "he".
    That is another type of complement. "Became" is an intransitive verb there and "doctor" is a predicate nominative.

    My question is, isn't it possible to use nouns as such complements for "look"?
    Yes, in the sentence "He looked the fool", looked is an intransitive verb and "fool" is a predicate nominative.

    That is quite differerent from "she looked nothing like her sister"

  2. #12
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork

    Yes, in the sentence "He looked the fool", looked is an intransitive verb and "fool" is a predicate nominative.

    That is quite differerent from "she looked nothing like her sister"
    OK. So nouns can be used as complements for the intransitive verb "look" but "nothing" cannot be, right?

    So, doesn't a sentence like "He looks nothing" make any sense? Even to me it sounds weird, but I don't know if it actually doesn't make any sense or not.

  3. #13
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork

    Yes, in the sentence "He looked the fool", looked is an intransitive verb and "fool" is a predicate nominative.

    That is quite differerent from "she looked nothing like her sister"
    OK. So nouns can be used as complements for the intransitive verb "look" but "nothing" cannot be, right?

    So, doesn't a sentence like "He looks nothing" make any sense? Even to me it sounds weird, but I don't know if it actually doesn't make any sense or not.
    I have a hard time fitting "nothing" as a pronoun or any other other pronoun into an intransitive use of "look".

    "He looks nothing" doesn't make sense to me. One could say "He looks like a nothing" (nothing turns into a noun there). :wink:

  4. #14
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    Alright.

    Thank you Mike! I really appreciate your answer in detail, always !

  5. #15
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Alright.

    Thank you Mike! I really appreciate your answer in detail, always !
    You're welcome, Taka. :wink:

  6. #16
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    Sorry, Mike. Let me ask one more thing to make things clear.

    I have a question on this part.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    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.
    Is this always true? I mean, if a verb is about a state of being, is it true that it never has a noun to be followed as an object? Take "mean", for example. In my opinion, the verb "mean" indicates a state of being; "That means X" is semantically equivalent to "That is X". However, grammatically "mean" is a transitive verb and, say, in "That means nothing", "nothing" is an object, not an adverb.

  7. #17
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Sorry, Mike. Let me ask one more thing to make things clear.

    I have a question on this part.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    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.
    Is this always true? I mean, if a verb is about a state of being, is it true that it never has a noun to be followed as an object? Take "mean", for example. In my opinion, the verb "mean" indicates a state of being; "That means X" is semantically equivalent to "That is X". However, grammatically "mean" is a transitive verb and, say, in "That means nothing", "nothing" is an object, not an adverb.
    That's a very good question. The difference between "matter" and "mean" is subtle, but present. The verb "mean" is synonymous with "signify", "denote", "create", "lead to" etc. When something signifies or denotes something, there is a transfer of action to the object. To highlight the difference, look at the two in intransitive use:

    Competence matters. (it exists as something important)
    Competence means. (it is really not a state of being, so it doesn't work)

    Now, transitive uses:

    Competence matters job security. (you can't matter something)
    Competence means job security. (that works, it leads to job security)

    There is one transitive use of "mean" (as defined by a dictionary).

    They mean well.

    The dictionary calls it intransitive, because "well" is classified as an adjective/adverb. However, I would argue that "well" is not acting as a modifier in that use. I would argue that "well" is a substantive in that use and means "good things" and "mean" carries the meaning of "intend". It also could be called an "idiom", which relaxes the rules of grammar somewhat. In English, there will always be constructions that are difficult to explain by analogy.

  8. #18
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    Wow...amazing! Logical and persuasive.

    Hey, Mike. Are you really a vet? If I had not checked your profile, I would have believed that you were a graduate in English education or the like and had been involved in the area for a long time.

    Let me call you my "sensei".

    You are the best!

    Taka

    (P.S I was almost giving you the "mean well" example. Hmm..."well" as a noun. Interesting!)

  9. #19
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Re: Against dictionary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Wow...amazing! Logical and persuasive.
    You have just made my day!

    Hey, Mike. Are you really a vet? If I had not checked your profile, I would have believed that you were a graduate in English education or the like and had been involved in the area for a long time.
    Yes, I am really a vet. I love English, but I love animals even more. Grammar cannot lick your face.

    I was very fortunate to receive a great education in English and English grammar in elementary school and high school. Except for a couple of courses in college, I have not studied English since.

    Let me call you my "sensei".

    You are the best!

    Taka

    (P.S I was almost giving you the "mean well" example. Hmm..."well" as a noun. Interesting!)
    I am honored. I like "sensei"; I may change to it from Pope.

    The "mean well" sense is interesting, isn't it?

  10. #20
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Grammar doesn't need walks when it's raining.

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