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  1. yuantanren
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    #1

    "so ... that... " structure

    Does this sentence make sense?
    It's not so late that you can change your mind.

    If yes, how different is it from the following sentence and how can we explain the difference?
    It's not so late that you cannot change your mind.

    Many thanks!

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    Quote Originally Posted by yuantanren View Post
    Does this sentence make sense?
    It's not so late that you can change your mind.
    No, it doesn't.

    If yes, how different is it from the following sentence and how can we explain the difference?
    It's not so late that you cannot change your mind.
    This is a normal sentence.
    Many thanks!
    R.

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    #3

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    If you wanted to use a positive verb you could say 'It's not too late to change your mind'. this too is a natural sentence. Perhaps this is the source of the apparent paradox that seems to have been bothering you.

    b

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    #4

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    If you wanted to use a positive verb you could say 'It's not too late to change your mind'. this too is a natural sentence. Perhaps this is the source of the apparent paradox that seems to have been bothering you.

    b
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    R.
    I think 'It's not too late to change your mind' is better. But I wonder why does not "It's not so late that you can change your mind" sentence make sense? Can you explain this more clearly?

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    #5

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    Quote Originally Posted by quyden View Post
    But I wonder why does not "It's not so late that you can change your mind" sentence make sense? Can you explain this more clearly?
    I doubt it, but I'll try.

    1. "It's not so late that you can change your mind."
    Why doesn't this make sense? Well, you could force it to, but it's complicated, and not very convincing.

    By analogy with:
    2. "It's not so late that you can't change your mind." meaning
    3. "It's not too late for you to change your mind", (as Bob pointed out) then 1. means:
    4. "It's not too late for you not to change your mind."

    Now, what does 4. mean?
    Consider the opposite of 4:
    5. "It is too late for you not to change your mind." ie.:
    6. "It is time that you must change your mind." Now, the opposite of this is:
    7. "It is not yet time that you must change your mind."
    =
    8. "You don't have to change your mind yet."

    So, 1 = 4 = 7 = 8

    However 1. also means 9. "You can't change your mind yet", so it can't mean 8.

    If you can find the logical flaw, or explicate a definite meaning for 1, then please share.
    If not, let's assume that 1. "It's not so late that you can change your mind." is not worth pursuing as a useful sentence.

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    #6

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    Dear Raymott,

    your explanation is as enlightening as always. You are a great teacher, and if you don't mind, let me tell you that your avatar suits you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    4. "It's not too late for you not to change your mind."
    It's a case of double negative resolving to a positive, isn't it Would it be correct to say a sentence like this "there is no way for me not to go where you need me"? In other words, I have to go where you need me; I can't refuse going (to) where you need me. (And a side-question: Should I say where or to where in these sentences?) Would you share your thoughts and advises of this, please?


    As for the original question,
    Quote Originally Posted by quyden View Post
    But I wonder why does not "It's not so late that you can change your mind" sentence make sense?
    I immediately got the gist of it, even if the sentence sounds a bit awkward. I think the problem is that in some languages the word "that" often introduces an imperative clause. But I'm only guessing...

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Mav~ View Post
    Dear Raymott,

    your explanation is as enlightening as always. You are a great teacher, and if you don't mind, let me tell you that your avatar suits you.
    Thank you. It is very close to the picture on my driver's licence!

    It's a case of double negative resolving to a positive, isn't it
    No, it's not that easy! For a double negative to resolve to a positive, the two nots have to be in right place.
    For example: "I did not tell you not to hit him" certainly doesn't mean "I told you to hit him".
    You can't assume that I told you to do something on the grounds that I didn't tell you not to do it!
    (No doubt, the flaw in my argument above depends on ignoring this rule somewhere.)

    Would it be correct to say a sentence like this "there is no way for me not to go where you need me"?
    Yes.
    In other words, I have to go where you need me; I can't refuse going (to) where you need me.
    Yes, that's a good sentence with the correct meaning.
    That is one sentence where the two negatives are in the right place to make a positive.


    (And a side-question: Should I say where or to where in these sentences?) Would you share your thoughts and advises of this, please?
    You don't need "to". "I'll go where you need me".

    As for the original question,

    I immediately got the gist of it, even if the sentence sounds a bit awkward. I think the problem is that in some languages the word "that" often introduces an imperative clause. But I'm only guessing...
    So what was your understanding of the sentence? - ie. the one that I told yuantanren that it didn't make sense.

    R.

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    #8

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    Thank you very much for your enlightening reply. Now it's crystal clear. :)


    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    So what was your understanding of the sentence? - ie. the one that I told yuantanren that it didn't make sense.
    When I read this sentence "It's not so late that you can change your mind", my first interpretation was something like "It's still not too late to change your mind", "You haven't reached the point where you can't turn back", etc. But, as I said, I was only guessing, so maybe I got it wrong.

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    #9

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Mav~ View Post
    Thank you very much for your enlightening reply. Now it's crystal clear. :)



    When I read this sentence "It's not so late that you can change your mind", my first interpretation was something like "It's still not too late to change your mind", "You haven't reached the point where you can't turn back", etc. But, as I said, I was only guessing, so maybe I got it wrong.
    Yes, that's wrong.
    "It's not so late that you can't change your mind" can't mean the same as:
    "It's not so late that you can change your mind."

    And we've already agreed (Bob and I, at least, with no dissenters) that the former means what you want the latter to mean.

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    #10

    Re: "so ... that... " structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    And we've already agreed (Bob and I, at least, with no dissenters) that the former means what you want the latter to mean.
    I have also agreed, that was not a question, and that wasn't your question. You asked how I'd understood the original sentence right away, without going into logical ways. (If someone said something like this: "What is the dinner going to cook this evening?", it would be obvious that he/she means "What are you going to cook for dinner this evening?". )


    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Yes, that's wrong.
    Yes, I knew it was wrong! I did not say it was correct; what I tried to say was that in spite of its logical/grammatical flaw, I thought I understood what the original sentence had been supposed to be meant. (Damn, it's complicated. Is it correct, by the way? )




    PS.:

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It is very close to the picture on my driver's licence!
    I was referring to Yoda's wisdom and teaching skills.

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