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  1. #1
    gamboler is offline Member
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    "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    I was watching an American movie produced in 1950, and there is a dialogue in which one of the people involved say:

    Well, I really don't see any sensible reason I am staying either, Mr. Johnson.

    The part in bold font sounded weird to me because I would have said:

    Well, I really don't see any sensible reason for me to stay either, Mr. Johnson.

    Are both sentences good grammar? Do they mean the same? Is the first one more colloquial?

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    "for me to stay" suggests a future action to me.
    "I am staying" suggests that he/she has already started the action of staying and simply can't really explain his/her own decision.

    Please give us some more context (where/why is the speaker staying) and, more importantly, give us the title of the film.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
    gamboler is offline Member
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    Thanks, emsr2d2. She is staying in the living room of her boyfriend's house, being questioned by the police. Of course, she wants to leave as soon as possible.
    Name of the film: "Alibi" (TV episode)

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    Is it a film (movie) or an episode of a TV series?

    Was she answering a question such as "Why are you staying here?" or "Can you give us a good reason for why you are staying here?"? That would explain the parallel use of the continuous in her answer.

    Why does she call the police officer "Mr Johnson"? That's a very strange way to address a police officer!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. #5
    gamboler is offline Member
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    It's a TV episode. Mr. Johnson is not a police officer. Sergeant Roberts is questioning Sarah and 3 people more in the living room of her boyfriend's house. One of the guests has been murdered. Dick Johnson is one of the three men being questioned. This is the dialogue:

    Sgt. Roberts: Well, I think one of you is not telling the whole truth
    Mr. Johnson: I'd like to go home if you don't mind, Sgt. Roberts.
    Sgt. Roberts: I'd rather you didn't.
    Sarah: Well, I don't see any sensible reason I am staying either, Mr. Johnson. Can I leave, Sgt. Roberts?

  6. #6
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    It's definitely odd.
    I don't see any sensible reason for me to still be here either
    I don't see any sensible reason to have me stay either.

    Sometimes an actor misses a line and the rest of the scene is going well, so as long as the overall meaning is clear, they keep going. That may have happened here.
    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.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    We are often vague in speech and use odd forms that we wouldn't use in writing. Movies and TV can reflect this in their dialogue. If they didn't, they would risk sounding stilted and unnatural.

  8. #8
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    We are often vague in speech and use odd forms that we wouldn't use in writing. Movies and TV can reflect this in their dialogue. If they didn't, they would risk sounding stilted and unnatural.
    That's true, and careful screenwriters follow the dictum. Given the era this show was produced, though, I have to support Barb's theory that the actress just mildly muffed her line. You hear a lot of muffed lines in 1950s and early '60s television. British shows from the seventies have their share, too. American TV producers by then had large enough budgets that they didn't tolerate obvious mistakes very often.
    I am not a teacher.

  9. #9
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    Can't you upload the excerpt and provide a link?

  10. #10
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    Re: "for me to stay" versus "I am staying"

    Well, I really don't see any sensible reason I am staying either, Mr. Johnson.
    Hypothetical dialogue:

    A: Is there any reason you are staying?
    B: I hadn't really thought about it.
    A: I don't see any sensible one.
    B: I don't see any sensible reason I am staying, either. Perhaps I'll go.

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