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  1. yuriya's Avatar
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    #1

    Smile It takes me an hour to get there.

    Hi, guys! I hope you are having a good time.
    If not, why don't you grab a chair and join me in solving one of the mysteries of English grammar.

    My grammar question today concerns the verb take, one of the jolly versatile magic words. I've always thought when take is used in the sense of need it usually takes the following structure:

    It takes (someone) sometime to-infinitive
    It takes (me) an hour to get there.

    Pretty neat sentences they make, don't they? However, while I was listening to the radio today, I picked up this interesting line from a beautifully composed song, "Lucky" by Jason Mraz:
    They don't know how long it takes waiting for a love like this.

    Is it OK to use waiting instead of to wait in the above sentence? And if it is OK then how are they different in meaning? Thanks in advance!


    • Join Date: Apr 2010
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    #2

    Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by yuriya View Post
    Hi, guys! I hope you are having a good time.
    If not, why don't you grab a chair and join me in solving one of the mysteries of English grammar.

    My grammar question today concerns the verb take, one of the jolly versatile magic words. I've always thought when take is used in the sense of need it usually takes the following structure:

    It takes (someone) sometime to-infinitive
    It takes (me) an hour to get there.

    Pretty neat sentences they make, don't they? However, while I was listening to the radio today, I picked up this interesting line from a beautifully composed song, "Lucky" by Jason Mraz:
    They don't know how long it takes waiting for a love like this.

    Is it OK to use waiting instead of to wait in the above sentence? And if it is OK then how are they different in meaning? Thanks in advance!
    Chair grabbed--I'm set!

    Your sentences seem to be check-plus work (completely correct); now on to your situation with "waiting."

    With this, "to wait" would be too passive--It doesn't take a long time to physically start waiting, which would be what "They don't know how long it takes to wait for a love like this" would imply. Waiting, however, is the physical action of waiting, which is what Jason Mraz means here--That it takes a long time of waiting to find a love like that.

    Man, with verbs like "wait" this does get awfully confusing, doesn't it?

    Just a note of caution--In general, taking grammar rules from songs isn't the best of ideas, due to their, for a lack of a better word, puffy and artsy phrasing--They're not looking to be direct to the point (or always make much of a point, either!), they're, in general looking to get eventually to their point in the most artsy way possible.

    As always, any questions? It's getting pretty late for me, so I may have misphrased/awkwardly phrased some things.

    -TFT

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by yuriya View Post
    Hi, guys! I hope you are having a good time.
    If not, why don't you grab a chair and join me in solving one of the mysteries of English grammar.

    My grammar question today concerns the verb take, one of the jolly versatile magic words. I've always thought when take is used in the sense of need it usually takes the following structure:

    It takes (someone) sometime to-infinitive
    It takes (me) an hour to get there.

    Pretty neat sentences they make, don't they? However, while I was listening to the radio today, I picked up this interesting line from a beautifully composed song, "Lucky" by Jason Mraz:
    They don't know how long it takes waiting for a love like this.

    Is it OK to use waiting instead of to wait in the above sentence? And if it is OK then how are they different in meaning? Thanks in advance!
    You can use the gerund instead of the infinitive, but the latter usually sounds much better; and the former is often wrong.

    "It takes me an hour getting there
    ." sounds wrong, but:
    "It takes me an hour just getting to work." sounds OK. So, the actual sentence makes a difference in usage.

    When you reverse the sentence:
    "Getting there takes an hour. To get there takes an hour", the former is almost always used.
    "Waiting for love takes a long time" sounds better than "It takes a long time waiting for love." Either way, using this construction with 'wait' is strange, and best left for songs. It's strange because it takes no time at all to wait for love. It's finding love that takes a long time.

  3. yuriya's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    Thanks TFT and Raymott! It seems a bit more complicated than I first expected. Not that your explanations are not good enough or anything but that they challenge me to consider things I've never realized there were.
    I'm afraid it will take me some time to sort this out. Or should I say sorting this out takes some time?
    Last edited by yuriya; 08-May-2010 at 02:09. Reason: not added before good enough.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by yuriya View Post
    Thanks TFT and Raymott! It seems a bit more complicated than I first expected. Not that your explanations are good enough or anything but that they challenge me to consider things I've never realized there were.
    I'm afraid it will take me some time to sort this out. Or should I say sorting this out takes some time?
    Your question is probably meant rhetorically, but I'll answer anyway.
    In my opinion, "... take me some time to sort this out" is better, as I implied in the first sentence of my previous post.

  5. yuriya's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    Raymott, you mean while it is better to say sorting this out will take some time than to sort this out will take some time, you'd prefer to say it'll take some time to sort this out? Thanks again for your care and kindness, and have a good day!


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    #7

    Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by yuriya View Post
    Raymott, you mean while it is better to say sorting this out will take some time than to sort this out will take some time, you'd prefer to say it'll take some time to sort this out? Thanks again for your care and kindness, and have a good day!
    Theoretically, he's correct. In all honesty, however, people will use "sorting this out will take some time" and"It'll take some time to sort this out" interchangeably. It is more graceful to say the latter than the former, though.

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by yuriya View Post
    Raymott, you mean while it is better to say sorting this out will take some time than to sort this out will take some time, you'd prefer to say it'll take some time to sort this out? Thanks again for your care and kindness, and have a good day!
    No, I meant "take some time to sort it out" is better than "take some time sorting it out"
    No doubt there are regional preferences.

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    #9

    Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    It could be that it's not meant as a single unit:
    They don't know how long it takes - waiting for a love like this (=it in the first part)

  7. yuriya's Avatar
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    #10

    Smile Re: It takes me an hour to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It could be that it's not meant as a single unit:
    They don't know how long it takes - waiting for a love like this (=it in the first part)
    Tdol, I hope you could elaborate on it a little. Unless I'm quite mistaken, I believe you have "dummy it" on your mind. Either way (gerund or infinitive) it, I believe, should be treated as the dummy.

    And Raymott, I've been thinking about this over the weekend:

    You can use the gerund instead of the infinitive, but the latter usually sounds much better; and the former is often wrong.

    "It takes me an hour getting there." sounds wrong, but:
    "It takes me an hour just getting to work." sounds OK. So, the actual sentence makes a difference in usage.
    Can you provide some other sentences with gerund other than "getting to work" so that I can get general idea concerning take-constructions where dummy it refers back to gerund.
    Thank you again. Have a good night, and to those living behind time, enjoy the last of the weekend!

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