# Thread: afford

1. ## afford

Dear teachers,

Would you please tell me how you understand the word "afford" hereunder, and why?

Why novels and plays are so often untrue to life is because their authors, perhaps of necessity, make their characters all of a piece. They cannot afford to make them self-contradictory [ 1) writers could not allow themselves to make the characters contradictory 2) writers could not allow the characters to be self-contradictory], for then they become incomprehensible, and yet self-contradictory is what most of us are.
Somerset Maugham, A friend in need

Thank you for your help.
Hela

2. ## Re: afford

They can't risk making the characters self-contradictory

3. ## Re: afford

Thank you tdol.

Another questions if you wouldn't mind. In the following sentence the author says "In books on logic they will tell you that it is absurd to say that yellow is tubular or gratitude heavier than air".

Would you please tell me why he uses the future there? Can it be replaced by the present?

Have a nice day,
Hela

4. ## Re: afford

This is a use of the future to suggest probability (almost certainty), based on observation. If you say "In books on logic they tell you that it is absurd to say that yellow is tubular or gratitude heavier than air", you are asserting that all books on logic always use precisely those images. If you add 'will' you are saying that this or something like it is typical of books on logic.

b

5. ## Re: afford

Thank you Bob

Have a nice day.

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