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    #1

    is often messy vs often is messy

    1. Changing things often is messy.
    2. Changing things is often messy.
    What's the difference in meaning between the above two sentences?
    I need native speakers' help.

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    #2

    Re: is often messy vs often is messy

    Not a teacher.

    Hi,

    1. Changing things often is messy.
    If you change things frequently, it will be messy.

    2. Changing things is often messy.
    It is often messy to change things.

    I hope it helps you to understand.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 02-May-2015 at 08:21. Reason: Adding 'Not a teacher'.

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    #3

    Re: is often messy vs often is messy

    http://odb.org/video/emerge-anew/

    0:38 And yeah, things can get messy, because changing things often is messy.
    I need native speakers' help.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: is often messy vs often is messy

    Quote Originally Posted by noobcat View Post

    1. Changing things often is messy.
    If you change things frequently, it will be messy.
    That could be the meaning. But it could also mean the same as 2.
    In fact, in the video link, both the intonation and the context reveal that it can only mean 2. It has nothing to do with changing things often.

    2, however, cannot be used to refer to changing things often.

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    #5

    Re: is often messy vs often is messy

    noobcat, please read this extract from the forum rules:

    You are welcome to answer questions posted in the Ask a Teacher forum as long as your suggestions, help, and advice reflect a good understanding of the English language. If you are not a teacher, you will need to state that clearly at the top of your post.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 02-May-2015 at 08:57.

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    #6

    Re: is often messy vs often is messy

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    That could be the meaning. But it could also mean the same as 2.
    In fact, in the video link, both the intonation and the context reveal that it can only mean 2. It has nothing to do with changing things often.

    2, however, cannot be used to refer to changing things often.
    We normally do not put the adverb of frequency before am/is/are/was/were.
    If it means the same as 2, why bother to put the adverb of frequency often before the verb is? Does it emphasize something?
    I need native speakers' help.

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    #7

    Re: is often messy vs often is messy

    Yes, it can be done for emphasis.
    A: "Why do you say that it's often messy?"
    B: "Because it often is messy!"; "Because it is often messy!"
    Either of these is OK, and there's no ambiguity.
    It's true that, "We normally do not put the adverb of frequency before am/is/are/was/were." We can do this; but we shouldn't if it introduces an ambiguity. It occurs more often when "to be" is emphasised.

    A: "Speak to him when he's sober."
    B: "He rarely is sober these days."
    In this case, you can't say "He is rarely sober these days" with the emphasis on 'is'.

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    #8

    Re: is often messy vs often is messy

    Quote Originally Posted by sitifan View Post
    If it means the same as 2, why bother to put the adverb of frequency often before the verb is? Does it emphasize something?
    If a word is not in its normal place, it is often for a reason such as emphasis.

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