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    • Join Date: Sep 2007
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    #1

    pretend (fein) / pretend (claim)

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me in a simple way why here is a difference in the mening of the verb “pretend” in the former and latter half-dozen sentences?

    1. I pretended illness yesterday.
    2. Let’s pretend to be robbers.
    3. He pretends to be very busy.
    4. We’re only pretending.
    5. I pretend illness as a reason for my absence.
    6. He pretended ignorance, hoping to avoid being fined.

    But:

    7. I pretend to a right.
    8. I pretend to a title.
    9. The young man pretended to the throne.
    10. I pretend to great learning.
    11. He pretends to her hand.
    12. There are not many persons who pretend to an exact knowledge of the subject.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #2

    Re: pretend (fein) / pretend (claim)

    1. I pretended illness yesterday.
    2. Let’s pretend to be robbers.
    3. He pretends to be very busy.
    4. We’re only pretending.
    5. I pretend illness as a reason for my absence.
    6. He pretended ignorance, hoping to avoid being fined.
    These are all cases of the word "pretend" in various shades and degrees of "falsehood" or "deceitfulness" or "pretense" (including playful pretense.) These are shams, feigning, faking.

    But:

    7. I pretend to a right.
    8. I pretend to a title.
    9. The young man pretended to the throne.
    These are in the sense of "lay claim to."

    There is no sense of "faking it" (as in the case of the women who claimed to be Princess Anastasia of Russia.) The claim is merely in dispute in some way; it may be rejected by being overmatched or bested, but it is not disbelieved. It may end up as the loser in a contest, but it is not a false claim -- merely one whose strength is challenged by a competitor.



    10. I pretend to great learning.
    12. There are not many persons who pretend to an exact knowledge of the subject.
    These are in the sense of "to make pretensions" -- to make allegations (possibly baseless) of merit.


    11. He pretends to her hand.
    This is an obsolete use meaning "to be a suitor"
    Last edited by Ann1977; 13-Sep-2009 at 09:36.

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