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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    it is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk

    Hello.

    The sentence "It is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk" was made up by me. Still, I am not sure of the meaning of the sentence.

    Is it recommendation - it is no use my crying over spilt milk/it is no good my crying over spilt milk? Then one could also say "It is in vain that I (should) cry over spilt milk".

    or

    Is it a statement - I am in the process of crying over spilt milk? Then one could say "Your crying over spilt milk is in vain".

    Maybe both the meanings are valid, depending on the context. Still, there is no context.

    What do you think?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by JACEK1; 11-Mar-2017 at 22:09.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: it is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk

    Quote Originally Posted by JACEK1 View Post
    Hello.

    The sentence "It is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk" was made up by me. Still, I am not sure of the meaning of the sentence.

    Is it a recommendation - it is no use my crying over spilt milk/it is no good my crying over spilt milk? Then one could also say "It is in vain that I (should) cry over spilt milk".

    or

    Is it a statement - I am in the process of crying over spilt milk? Then one could say "Your crying over spilt milk is in vain".

    Maybe both the meanings are valid, depending on the context. Still, there is no context.

    What do you think?

    Thank you.
    They're all grammatical and all mean the same thing: that crying over spilled (American English) milk is useless.

    We usually don't say that it is in vain to do something. The idiom "in vain" isn't usually used with an infinitive. It's more natural to use it this way:

    - I cried in vain.
    - My appeals were in vain.
    - You're shouting in vain.

    There's an old song by the American Robert Johnson called "Love In Vain" that says: "It's hard to tell, it's hard to tell when all your love's in vain." That's the more standard use of the expression.

    For your sentences, we would usually say "useless."
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: it is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk

    Hm. Thought I deleted this one. Oops! I know I hit Delete. Sorry. Never mind. Ugh.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 12-Mar-2017 at 00:37. Reason: Meant to delete because it was wrong, but It but failed.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  4. Key Member
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    #4

    Re: it is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk

    Crying over spilt milk is a pointless or futile thing to do. So I think it redundant to add "it is in vain/no use/no good".
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #5

    Re: it is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk

    Pointless would work better than in vain for me.

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #6

    Re: it is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    Crying over spilt milk is a pointless or futile thing to do. So I think it redundant to add "it is in vain/no use/no good".
    We often use the redundancy.

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    #7

    Re: it is in vain for me to cry over spilt milk

    I myself use redundancy over and over again.
    I am not a teacher.

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