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    #1

    want

    Recently, I've often seen the verb 'want' used this way:

    She is the girl everyone is wanting.

    Is this kind of usage widely accepted?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: want

    There's nothing wrong with it. The progressive form suggsts that the present situation is perhaps of rather limited duration. She, perhaps a model or actress, is in demand at the moment.

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    #3

    Re: want

    So do you think the same is true of 'love/loving'?

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    #4

    Re: want

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka View Post
    So do you think the same is true of 'love/loving'?
    The idea of limited duration usually implied by he progressive form of verbs is incompatible with a strong, lasting feeling of affection, so 'I'm loving you' is not acceptable. However, when the word has a meaning similar to 'enjoy', the progressive form is possible, 'I'm loving having you here'.

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    #5

    Re: want

    Right. Just as I thought.

    Just one thing:

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    a strong, lasting feeling
    Aren't there any cases where 'enjoy' is used to mean that way?
    Last edited by Taka; 03-Jul-2012 at 08:29.

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    #6

    Re: want

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka View Post



    Aren't there any cases where 'enjoy' is used to mean that way?
    I wouldn't say so, though somebody might prove me wrong.

    'I'm enjoying. . . ' implies a temporary pleasure:

    'I'm enjoying Jersey potatoes at the moment'.

    'Are you enjoying the tennis at Wimbledon?'

    'He's enjoying life at uni.'

    Rover

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    #7

    Re: want

    (Sorry about the mistake. I've fixed it, though I don't think 'to mean' is completely wrong so I leave it as it is).

    So you think, in terms of strength and duration of feeling, these are different?

    I enjoy baseball.
    I like baseball.

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    #8

    Re: want

    I think most people who "like" a sport (ie they enjoy playing it or watching it) are likely to feel that way for most of their lives. There are, of course, people who take up a new sport and are obsessed with it for a few months and then seem to drop it completely, never taking part in it again.

    If someone said to me "I like tennis", I wouldn't assume that they were simply experiencing a short-lived good emotional response to the sport and that the situation would change in a week, or six months, or ten years. I would expect to meet them again ten years later and find that they still like tennis.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: want

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka View Post
    (Sorry about the mistake. I've fixed it, though I don't think 'to mean' is completely wrong so I leave it as it is).

    So you think, in terms of strength and duration of feeling, these are different?

    I enjoy baseball.
    I like baseball.
    Different from each other? No.
    Different from "I am enjoying baseball"? Yes. Although a rather odd sentence for an American, perhaps someone is attending summer camp, and that person is from a country where they don't play this game. He comes to summer camp and is in the process of learning how to play. He writes home "I don't much like the food here, but the people are great, and I am enjoying baseball." -- It's new, and it's probably temporary.
    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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    #10

    Re: want

    The word "want" originally meant "lack", both as verb and noun, and still carries that meaning sometimes.

    A want of friends. A lack of friends. He wants friends. He lacks friends.
    A want for friends. A desire for friends. He wants friends. He desires friends.

    The two senses of the noun originally took different prepositions, although "want of" is now both lack and desire. The verb is ambiguous, or rather carries both meanings: he has no friends and therefore desires to have them.

    The present participle "wanting" preserves the sense of "lack" quite strongly. A missing grammatical form (for example, the infinitive of the modal verb "can") is often said to be wanting.

    The original expression, although not very common, is in no way wrong. If she is the girl everyone is wanting, then she is the girl everyone desires because no one has.

    PS. Reference. OED:

    want, v.

    ...
    1.a intr. To be lacking or missing; not to exist; not to be forthcoming; to be deficient in quantity or degree. ... rare since the 17th c., and now arch. (to be wanting is current; see wanting ppl. a.)

    2.a trans. Not to have; to be without, to lack; to have too little of; to be destitute of, or deficient in; to fail to have, or get. Now rare, exc. with object a desirable quality or attribute; in Palæography and Bibliography, to lack (a leaf or a page).

    ....

    4.a trans. To suffer the want of; to have occasion for, need, require; to stand in need of (something salutary, but often not desired. Hence colloq. senses 4 and 5 are often humorously contrasted.)

    ....

    5.a To desire, wish for. Often with inf. as object.
    Note how meaning 5 -- 5, not 1, in historical order! -- is the common one today.
    Last edited by abaka; 03-Jul-2012 at 21:49. Reason: added PS

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