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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Question I could (not can) play Fortnite for the rest of my life

    Hello.

    If someone says:
    I could play Fortnite for the rest of my life.

    What does could in this context mean?
    My guess is that he does not mean the he can really play Fortnight for the rest of his life (or he would have said can), but it is rather a way for saying how fond he is with the game.


    What do you think? Is my guess right?

    I checked several dictionaries, and none of which mention anything about such an expression. So my guess it is a slang.

    Thanks and regards.
    Last edited by Iliaa; 21-May-2020 at 15:30. Reason: Typo.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I could (not can) play Fortnite for the rest of my life

    Quote Originally Posted by Iliaa View Post
    Hello.

    If someone says:
    I could play Fortnite for the rest of my life.

    What does could in this context mean?
    My guess is that he does not mean the he can really play Fortnight for the rest of his life (or he would have said can), but it is rather a way for saying how fond he is with the game.

    What do you think? Is my guess right?

    Yes. It's a common form of exaggeration.


    I checked several dictionaries, and none of which mention anything about such an expression. So my guess it is a slang.

    No.

    Thanks and regards.
    You began with the word someone, which is not male or female. So can you rephrase your "My guess . . . ." sentence so that it applies to everyone? That would be better than he and his.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 21-May-2020 at 23:25.
    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.

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    #3

    Re: I could (not can) play Fortnite for the rest of my life

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    You began with the word someone, which is not male no female. So can you rephrase your "My guess . . . ." sentence so that it applies to everyone? That would be better than he and his.
    Thanks for bringing that to my attention!
    I'm not a native speaker of English, and usually we use the male pronoun if we do not know the sex of the person.
    So I guess, my mother tongue made me write it this way.
    Thanks again.

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I could (not can) play Fortnite for the rest of my life

    Quote Originally Posted by Iliaa View Post
    Thanks for bringing that to my attention!
    I'm not a native speaker of English, and usually we use the male pronoun if we do not know the sex of the person.
    So I guess, my mother tongue made me write it this way.
    Thanks again.
    It was common for most of the twentieth century in English. In this century, the mother tongue has been taken over by the parent tongue.
    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.

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    #5

    Re: I could (not can) play Fortnite for the rest of my life

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    It was common for most of the twentieth century in English. In this century, the mother tongue has been taken over by the parent tongue.
    Many thanks Charlie for letting me know about that.
    This is interewsting, I mean how English is working on being neutral. This is almost impossible in some languages in which each word is either femenine or masculine.
    In Frensch for instance parent language is "langue maternelle" (mother tongue). Because the word "langue (language) is a feminine word.

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I could (not can) play Fortnite for the rest of my life

    Quote Originally Posted by Iliaa View Post
    Many thanks Charlie for letting me know about that.
    This is interewsting, I mean how English is working on being neutral. This is almost impossible in some languages in which each word is either femenine or masculine.
    In Frensch for instance parent language is "langue maternelle" (mother tongue). Because the word "langue (language) is a feminine word.
    Not to worry! It's almost impossible for a lot of English speakers, too.
    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.

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    #7

    Re: I could (not can) play Fortnite for the rest of my life

    Quote Originally Posted by Iliaa View Post
    Many thanks Charlie for letting me know about that.
    This is interewsting, I mean how English is working on being neutral. This is almost impossible in some languages in which each word is either femenine or masculine.
    In Frensch for instance parent language is "langue maternelle" (mother tongue). Because the word "langue (language) is a feminine word.
    I've never heard or seen "parent tongue" until this thread. Google barely finds a trace of it. So I think Charlie was speaking with his tongue firmly in his cheek. (Look up "tongue in cheek" if that sentence doesn't make sense.)

    Mother tongue remains the nearly universal way to refer to one's first language.
    I am not a teacher.

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