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  1. terrenziqq's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 64
    #1

    "You don't say" and the verb "try"

    Today I saw something interesting on a test paper. There was a sentence "You don't say." on it. I didn't understand the meaning of such a short sentence which is composed of such simple words, so I looked it up in a dictionary. Strangely, the two explanations of it are totally contrary to each other. One is "To show you are very surprised at something that someone told you." ,and the other is "To show you are not surprised at something that someone told you." So, how do you tell if someone who tells you "You don't say." feels surprised ?

    Another question is the form "try to V" is usually seen. However, "try Ving" is also right. I've heard several times that each form has its meaning. They are different from each other. If so, what's the difference between them?


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

    Re: "You don't say" and the verb "try"

    Quote Originally Posted by terrenziqq View Post
    Today I saw something interesting on a test paper. There was a sentence "You don't say." on it. I didn't understand the meaning of such a short sentence which is composed of such simple words, so I looked it up in a dictionary. Strangely, the two explanations of it are totally contrary to each other. One is "To show you are very surprised at something that someone told you." ,and the other is "To show you are not surprised at something that someone told you." So, how do you tell if someone who tells you "You don't say." feels surprised ?
    The difference between "You don't say!" meaning "Really? I never knew that!" and "You don't say" meaning "Oh puh -lease! Everyone knows that" is expressed with voice intonation.

    In this way, we can make "yes" mean "no" and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by terrenziqq View Post
    Another question is the form "try to V" is usually seen. However, "try Ving" is also right. I've heard several times that each form has its meaning. They are different from each other. If so, what's the difference between them?
    Sometimes there's a difference:

    "Dying to try" is not at all the same as "die trying."
    And these are both different from "tie-dyeing."

    "Try Ving" is often more of a dare or a challenge, or an assertion that you can't do it. Sometimes it means "Well, why don't you just go ahead and try doing it if you're so smart.'

    "Try to V" is most often a mild exhortation to show some effort, to make a game attempt to do it.

    But really, I think a lot of the time there's not much difference, and most of whatever difference there is may come from voice inflection.

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