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  1. #1
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default How could I know their differences?

    As you are aware, some proverbs are superficially similar to the emphatic sentences with "it is..." construction, and their meanings could not be literally interpreted as they are, such as,

    It is a wise father that knows his own child.(=There are no fathers who know their own child = Only some fathers who know their own child)
    It is a long lane that has no turning.(=There is no long lane that has no turning)
    It is a good horse that never stumbles.(ditto)
    It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.(ditto)
    It is an ill wind that blows nobody good.(ditto)
    It's a wise man that never makes mistakes.(ditto)

    So, how could I tell the emphatic sentences from those stated above?
    Thank you for helping.

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: How could I know their differences?

    Logic and context- if someone is giving you directions, then it is likely that they are telling you that the lane has no turnings. If not, then it is likely to be the proverb.

  3. #3
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    Soup is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: How could I know their differences?

    I don't get what you are asking. What do you mean by emphatic?

    By the way, if you omit It is...that, the meaning stays the same. So why is it is important here?

    As Tdol's post says, every sentence you provided can have either a literal or figurative meaning.

  4. #4
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How could I know their differences?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    I don't get what you are asking. What do you mean by emphatic?

    By the way, if you omit It is...that, the meaning stays the same. So why is it is important here?

    As Tdol's post says, every sentence you provided can have either a literal or figurative meaning.
    Thank you, Tdol and Soup.
    Soup, let me give you some examples of the so-called emphatic sentences:
    It is you who broke the vase.(not me)
    It was at that store that Peter bought a book yesterday.
    It was yesterday that Peter bought a book at that store.

    Hope this may help for your understanding of what I really mean.

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