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    #1

    mutter and murmur

    Dear teachers,
    I have two questions to ask:

    No.1

    They were just __ to each other. I couldn't hear clearly.
    a. muttering b. murmuring
    The key is 'b'. Could you please explain why 'a' isn't correct?

    No.2
    Both 'at first' and 'in the first place' mean 'in or at ght beginning'.
    When I use 'at first' it is always followed by 'second' 'third' ect. When I use 'in the first place' it can be followed by 'second' etc. and it can be followed by nothing. Is that right? For example,
    I have three reasons for not going: first/in the first place....
    You should not have bought the bike in the first place. Here I can't use 'at first'. Is that right?


    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Last edited by jiang; 15-Apr-2007 at 16:58.


    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #2

    Re: mutter and murmur

    Murmur is "to speak smoothly in a low voice." "There, there," Jan murmured, soothing the child.

    Mutter is "to complain in a way that is hard to hear or understand." We usually mutter to ourselves: "I hate homework," Jack muttered as he tried to do it.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #3

    Re: mutter and murmur

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,
    I have two questions to ask:

    No.1

    They were just __ to each other. I couldn't hear clearly.
    a. muttering b. murmuring
    The key is 'b'. Could you please explain why 'a' isn't correct?

    "mutter" verb 1 say in a barely audible voice.
    "murmur" noun 1 a quietly spoken utterance verb 1 say something in a murmur.


    To me they are pretty much the same, though somehow mutter has a more edgy implication.

    No.2
    Both 'at first' and 'in the first place' mean 'in or at the beginning'.
    When I use 'at first', it is always followed by 'second' 'third' etc. When I use 'in the first place', it can be followed by 'second' etc. or it can be followed by nothing. Is that right? If I follow your reasoning, then yes, it can either be the first in a series or an idiom meaning "in the beginning" For example,
    I have three reasons for not going: first/in the first place....
    You should not have bought the bike in the first place. Here I can't use 'at first'. Is that right? In this context, yes.


    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    ..

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    #4

    Re: mutter and murmur

    Dear river,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see.
    Best wishes,
    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by river View Post
    Murmur is "to speak smoothly in a low voice." "There, there," Jan murmured, soothing the child.

    Mutter is "to complain in a way that is hard to hear or understand." We usually mutter to ourselves: "I hate homework," Jack muttered as he tried to do it.

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    #5

    Re: mutter and murmur


    Dear Anglika,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    ..

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    #6

    Re: mutter and murmur


    Dear Anglika,
    I'd like to make sure if I understand your explanation to my second question.
    When you said 'yes' did you mean I can use ' at first' or I can't use 'at first'?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    ..


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #7

    Re: mutter and murmur

    You should not have bought the bike in the first place. Here I can't use 'at first'. Is that right? In this context, yes.

    Hello, Jiang - you asked "I can't use....is that right?" - the answer is "Yes, you can't use "at first" in your sentence.


    • Join Date: Jun 2004
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    #8

    Re: mutter and murmur

    Here's my go: you generally mutter so that nobody can (distinctly) hear you, and you murmur so that only your interlocutor can hear you.

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    #9

    Re: mutter and murmur

    Dear Francois,
    Thank very much for your explanation. Now I see.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Francois View Post
    Here's my go: you generally mutter so that nobody can (distinctly) hear you, and you murmur so that only your interlocutor can hear you.

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