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    #1

    Confused about English-how we speak

    Just curious, but how does it work in english sometimes we explain "funny" like a thing, when really it is not.

    Let me give you an example, if I said "The movie is funny" and someone didn't understand what funny is referring to, I might say "Funny is like laughing and feeling joyous."

    This seems odd becuase in reality, funny is just a describing word, not really stating a thing, but explaining/modifying and giving a better idea.

    So is it jus the way it is, sometimes we pull words and their meanings out of context to explain them, when the really aren't nouns. I mean, according the dictionary, funny the word is an adjective, not a thing. So can someone clear this up for me? Thanks


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    #2

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    Quote Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar View Post
    Just curious, but how does it work in english sometimes we explain "funny" like a thing, when really it is not.

    Let me give you an example, if I said "The movie is funny" and someone didn't understand what funny is referring to, I might say "Funny is like laughing and feeling joyous."

    This seems odd becuase in reality, funny is just a describing word, not really stating a thing, but explaining/modifying and giving a better idea.

    So is it jus the way it is, sometimes we pull words and their meanings out of context to explain them, when the really aren't nouns. I mean, according the dictionary, funny the word is an adjective, not a thing. So can someone clear this up for me? Thanks
    I don't really see why you consider that there's a problem, Alkaspeltzar. 'funny', in your sentence hasn't changed form, it's still an adjective.

    [The adjective] [F]unny is like laughing and feeling joyous.

    "Funny" is like laughing and feeling joyous.

    Funny is like laughing and feeling joyous.

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    #3

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    I don't think you see the problem.

    In the sentence. "The funny cat.", funny is describing the cat and that makes that word an adjective.

    But in the sentence, "funny is like being joyous and happy". Here, funny is acting as the subject of the sentence, like a noun.

    See the difference, they are treating 'funny' like a thing, which it isn't really. That is why I am interested, what gives use that ability to treat something more descriptive and abstract as a thing in one sentence, and not in the other?


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    #4

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    Quote Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar View Post
    I don't think you see the problem.

    In the sentence. "The funny cat.", funny is describing the cat and that makes that word an adjective.

    But in the sentence, "funny is like being joyous and happy". Here, funny is acting as the subject of the sentence, like a noun.

    See the difference, they are treating 'funny' like a thing, which it isn't really. That is why I am interested, what gives use that ability to treat something more descriptive and abstract as a thing in one sentence, and not in the other?
    No, 'funny' hasn't been made into a noun by being put in subject position, Alkaspeltzar. It's still an adjective.

    What the person is saying is,

    "The word 'funny' is like ... ." which is a casual way of saying, "The word 'funny' is being used to say ... ." or "The adjective 'funny' is being used to say ... ."

    'happy/sad/careful/angry/...' is an adjective that means ... .

    'funny' can be a noun.

    Now that was a funny.

    Ha ha, Bill told a funny.

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    #5

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    I still think you don't see my question, lets try a different example.

    If I were to say "the bottle is big." The subject is bottle, referring to an object that holds water. It is a noun.

    Now if someone were to say "Funny is like joyous and happy." The subject is Funny, referring to not the writen word but explaining funny as an abstraction, like a thing. The meaning itself.

    what I am wondering, is how can we put that word funny in as the subject when in reality, it is a descriptive word(an adjective), not a word naming an object?

    IT is like they took the meaning of the word funny, and generalized it to talk about it as something. Can we do that in english?


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    #6

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    Quote Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar View Post
    I still think you don't see my question, lets try a different example.
    A word that's put in the subject position doesn't have to be a noun.


    Quote Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar View Post
    If I were to say "the bottle is big." The subject is bottle, referring to an object that holds water. It is a noun.

    And if we were to take that adjective, 'big' and put it in the subject position,

    Big describes bottle // Big was used by alkaspeltzar to describe bottle.

    the subject in both cases is 'big' but it hasn't changed to a noun just because we made it the subject. It's still an adjective.


    Quote Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar View Post
    what I am wondering, is how can we put that word funny in as the subject when in reality, it is a descriptive word(an adjective), not a word naming an object?
    You keep making the same assumption, that putting a word in subject position somehow changes it into a noun. It doe not.

    "A/An/The are words used as articles in English.

    "Quickly", an adverb, describes blah blah blah.

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    #7

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    I think you need to see the links below on parts of speech. A subject is always a noun, or any word, groups of words, phrase etc, which is acting as noun. See the links:
    Online Technical Writing: Basic Patterns and Elements of the Sentence
    The Parts of Speech

    And if what you say is true, then are the dictionaries wrong? don't think so.

    When I say "the tree is big." -in that sentence, the word tree is considered a noun. When I say " Kevin has a tree house."- in that sentence, the word tree is considered an adjective becuase it describes the house, not stating a thing. A good dictionary like websters will even detail these examples out similarily.

    According to your answer, if the word is a verb like run, then no matter how it is used, it is always that part of speech. That makes no sense.

    From this link English for Evrybody - Advanced Course. Adjectives. lesson 3, look at what I even found:

    Adjectives which are nouns

    Just as nouns can be adjectives, so adjectives can sometimes be nouns.
    For example:
    The young of the kangaroo live in their mothers' pouches
    He gave money to the poor
    The land of the brave and the home of the free.


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    #8

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    I think Alkaspeltzar has a good point there.

    Consider this passage:

    "In the phrase 'big dog,' big is an adjective."

    It does seem like a paradox to use the word "big" as the subject of the very sentence that claims it is an adjective.

    The solution is in the use of the word "big" AS a word, not as its own meaning.

    This use of "words as words" requires that they be italicized,* so the passage really should be written:
    "In the phrase 'big dog,' big is an adjective."

    This seems to mean that the adjective "big" becomes the noun big when used as a WORD.

    But I still would like to know the term for this event, or part of speech, or whatever it it.

    * NOTE: Sometimes style manuals say that words used as words should be in quotes. The problem with that is that sometimes punctuation gets really messed up.

    (from a news article quoting a person exactly)
    "'Justice' 's definition varies with the mind of the one who defines it," the lawyer said.

    Some of that mess can be avoided by italicizing the word "justice," rather than enclosing it in quotes:
    "Justice's definition varies with the mind of the one who defines it," the lawyer said.
    Last edited by Ann1977; 17-Sep-2009 at 05:52.


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    #9

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    Quote Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar View Post
    I think you need to see the links below on parts of speech. A subject is always a noun, or any word, groups of words, phrase etc, which is acting as noun. See the links:
    Online Technical Writing: Basic Patterns and Elements of the Sentence
    The Parts of Speech

    And if what you say is true, then are the dictionaries wrong? don't think so.
    Might I suggest that you're misreading this. Please be specific as to what it is that's in the "dictionaries" that supports your point, Alkaspeltzar.

    A, an and the are often used in front of nouns.

    Are a/an/the now nouns?

    Quote Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar View Post
    When I say "the tree is big." -in that sentence, the word tree is considered a noun. When I say " Kevin has a tree house."- in that sentence, the word tree is considered an adjective because it describes the house, not stating a thing. A good dictionary like websters will even detail these examples out similarily.

    According to your answer, if the word is a verb like run, then no matter how it is used, it is always that part of speech. That makes no sense.
    Clearly, that makes no sense and I would have been guilty of making no sense, had I said that. I'm well aware of the fact that words can be different parts of speech.


    Quote Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar View Post
    From this link English for Evrybody - Advanced Course. Adjectives. lesson 3, look at what I even found:

    Adjectives which are nouns

    Just as nouns can be adjectives, so adjectives can sometimes be nouns.
    For example:
    The young of the kangaroo live in their mothers' pouches
    He gave money to the poor
    The land of the brave and the home of the free.
    Those are clearly examples of adjectives as nouns. But that doesn't apply to your example. Notice what comes before each of your "adjective/nouns"; a 'the'.

    Let's put a 'the' before your 'funny' to see if it's acting as a noun.

    *The funny is like being joyous and happy.*

    [*---* denotes ungrammatical]

    What you are trying to say to that person when you say,

    Funny is like being joyous and happy.

    is,

    The adjective, funny, as I'm using it, means being joyous and happy.

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    #10

    Re: Confused about English-how we speak

    Okay, thank you for seeing what I am after. Now I get your point. When used as a word, italize it. Got it

    But one question still remains. Sometimes we do use the word to refer to its abstract meaning, as a way to explain something. We don't use the word to name the word itself.

    FOR EXAMPLE, if someone didn't understand the meaning of the word 'large', we might say "Large is like big." mores less referring to the meaning not the written word itself. It is like they are generalizing the definition as something' and refering to it as 'large' in that sentence. When in reality, large is just an explanatory word, not a thing.

    How and why is it we do that in english....is it just becuase of context that it is understood and it works?

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