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    #1

    as soon as look at you

    ‘I don’t believe it,’ Freddie muttered. ‘Everyone knows cats would lie as soon as look at you. This Ginger probably made it all up.’

    This sentence is from a young reader novel, and Freddie gives a mission to Ginger (cat) to learn a secret. But I couldn't understand what "as soon as look at you" means. Is it smth. like "You can understand that a would lie to you at a glance?"

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: as soon as look at you

    They would be just as likely to lie to you as to look at you. There is an equal probability of lying and looking. (In other words, they lie often and easily.)

    (Not my experience with cats, by the way. When they say "I'm hungry, and I mean it!" they mean it. When they say "This is a good time for you to pet me now," they actually want you to pet them, and when they say "this is not a good time for you to pet me," they mean that too. Of course, mine have never used words to tell me these things)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: as soon as look at you

    Cats will lie as easily as they will look at you, i.e., they lie very readily.

    ps. Barb was too fast for me.

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    #4

    Re: as soon as look at you

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    They would be just as likely to lie to you as to look at you. There is an equal probability of lying and looking. (In other words, they lie often and easily.)

    (Not my experience with cats, by the way. When they say "I'm hungry, and I mean it!" they mean it. When they say "This is a good time for you to pet me now," they actually want you to pet them, and when they say "this is not a good time for you to pet me," they mean that too. Of course, mine have never used words to tell me these things)
    I don't know. I've got cats lying all around my house.

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    #5

    Question Re: as soon as look at you

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    They would be just as likely to lie to you as to look at you.
    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Cats will lie as easily as they will look at you, i.e., they lie very readily.
    But literally, it means that cats lie the moment they look at you, doesn't it? (Cf. "Hello, she lied." )


    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't know. I've got cats lying all around my house.
    Am I right thinking that this is a pun that plays on the ambiguity of "lying"?

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    #6

    Re: as soon as look at you

    The expression is not meant to be understood literally. Understand it as Barb explained.

    Yes, I was making a pun.

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    #7

    Thumbs up Re: as soon as look at you

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The expression is not meant to be understood literally.
    I immediately got its meaning. I was just wondering whether it is idiomatic, or just a funny expression that is immediately understood.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Yes, I was making a pun.
    Good one! Thank you for your answer.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: as soon as look at you

    The original expression is idiomatic. "I'd as soon X as Y" means X is just as appealing to me (perhaps more so) than Y.

    It means that cats would be just as happy to lie to you as to look at you. It does not mean that they start to lie to you the moment they look at you.

    I'd as soon spend the time kissing you as talking to you -- that doesn't mean I'll start kissing you the moment we start talking. It's just my preference for how we'd spend our time together.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Thumbs up Re: as soon as look at you

    Thank you very much for your excellent explanation. (Also, your example makes it easy for me to memorise this expression. )

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: as soon as look at you

    Well, usually the though expressed is not so pleasant -- he's so mean, he'd as soon shoot you as look at you -- but if it helps you remember, great!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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