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      • Native Language:
      • German
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      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Nov 2008
    • Posts: 73
    #1

    Red face suggested meaning

    1) I will prepare some good food when we have a party tonight.

    2) My parents will sleep when we get home tonight.

    Question: Why does the first sentence suggest that I will prepare some good food while the party is going on
    and the second that my parents will sleep after we get home?
    Is it because the the word 'get' descibes a very short action taking a split second as opposed to
    having a party?
    I know with certain verbs like come, leave, ring up it is like this, because it is clear that it just
    takes a second or so.

    What about the case with 'fall asleep'? Because it can take a split second to fall asleep or longer.

    example: My mother will kiss my baby brother's forehead tonight as usual when he falls asleep.

    Could it be that this sentence suggests 2 possible meanings?


    A) My mother will kiss my baby brother's forehead while he is falling asleep, suggesting that the
    action of falling asleep will take longer.

    B) My mother will kiss my brother's forehead right after he falls asleep, suggesting that the action
    of falling asleep will take a split second to be accomplished.

    Is there a grammatical term for this group of verbs that describe a split second action like
    'switch on, leave, arrive, ring up, disappear, open, close', etc?

    Finally, 'My kids and I will belt out happy songs when we drive to the sea tomorrow.'

    Does this only mean that we will sing happily while we are driving to the sea?

    A big hello from near Munich

    Joern
    Last edited by Joern Matthias; 01-Dec-2012 at 17:01.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
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      • British English
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      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #2

    Re: suggested meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Joern Matthias View Post
    1) I will prepare some good food when we have a party tonight
    This is not a very natural utterance, in my opinion. Anybody who prepares food when/while we have a party tonight has left things too late. It's fine to say, for example, "I'll prepare some good food when we have our party next month". It will be understood that the preparation takes place before the party.
    2) My parents will sleep when we get home tonight.
    This is another unnatural sentence. They will either be asleep, or they will go straight to bed.
    My mother will kiss my baby brother's forehead tonight as usual when he falls asleep.

    Could it be that this sentence suggests 2 possible meanings?


    A) My mother will kiss my baby brother's forehead while he is falling asleep, suggesting that the
    action of falling asleep will take longer.

    B) My mother will kiss my brother's forehead right after he falls asleep, suggesting that the action
    of falling asleep will take a split second to be accomplished.
    I don't really think any of us are going to worry about such fine distinctions. If the difference is important, then we will choose one of the two versions that you have suggested.
    Finally, 'My kids and I will belt out happy songs when we drive to the sea tomorrow.'

    Does this only mean that we will sing happily while we are driving to the sea?
    What else is it going to mean - realistically?

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