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    #1

    unravel

    Dear teachers,

    Recenty I read the NYT’s article “20,000 Jobs Lost in 4th Month of Decline” where I noted again a few tangled affairs.
    My attention was focused on the verb “unravel”. I know the two meanings of the verb “ravel” namely “to clarify by separating the aspects of “ and “to tangle or complicate”. This accounts for my embarrassment by translation of the verb “unravel” in my natural language. I am in two minds about the proper meaning in the present context:”disentangle” or “become undone”

    Would you be kind enough explain to me the matter in question?

    There is a brief excerpt from the article mentioned above.

    The American economy lost 20,000 jobs in April, the fourth consecutive month of decline, in what many economists took as powerful evidence that the United States is almost certainly now ensnared in a recession.

    “It strongly argues that this downturn will be mild and short- lived,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “As long as businesses hold the line on their layoffs, the economy will weaken, but it won’t unravel.

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    Regards.

    V.


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    #2

    Re: unravel

    It is metaphorically comparing the economy to a piece of fabric, whether woven or knitted, that will unravel [disintegrate] if its physical integrity is not maintained [ie, it is torn or ripped].

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    #3

    Re: unravel

    Hi Anglika,

    Thank you for your picturesque explanation.

    Thank you also for your kindness and tolerance.

    Regards.

    V.

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    #4

    Re: unravel

    Hi Vil

    "Unravel", in the context you give, below, may be interpreted as "uncontrollably fall apart" i.e "won't unravel" means it would still be a controllable situation.

    With respect to "ravel": "unravel" is normally much more commonly used than "ravel".

    Hope this helps.
    NT

    PS It's interesting that Websters actually define "ravel" in terms of "unravel"!

    Ravel

    Noun

    1. A row of unravelled stitches; "she got a run in her stocking".

    Verb

    1. Disentangle; "can you unravel the mystery?" "unravel the ball or yarn".
    2. Tangle or complicate; "a ravelled story".

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    #5

    Re: unravel

    Hi Neillythere,

    Thank you for your successful implication. Thank you for further information concerning the matter in question.

    As a matter of fact I know what methaphora is. I know what symbolize “tangle” as a noun and as a verb, but I know also what symbolize “ complication”, “confusion”,”ravel”, “entangle”, “confuse”, “throw into confuse”, ”upset”, ”frustrate”, “get into a mess”, “make a mess of things”, “get into a tangle”.

    I have a right idea of “macroeconomics” which examines economy-wide phenomena such as changes in unemployment, national income, rate of growth, gross domestic product, inflation and price levels and as a result of that I casted suspicion on author’s good faith. I have in mind the author of the article in question. In my opinion he afflicted with moon-blindness or he has skipped the cautionary tale about the ostrich which burrows its head in sand.
    This prompted me to put the present question. Maybe I suffer with morbid suspiciousness but I have not much trust in first airy reading.

    Thank you again for your empathy.

    Regards.

    V.

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    #6

    Re: unravel

    Vil, let's move forwards in time a little. Imagine a member search for 'unravel' in a few years' time; what will they see? A question, a reply and some further information on the word, which may well fill some gaps in their knowledge. Most native speakers don't know the word 'ravel', and it clearly caused the dictionary writers some bother. Like 'ungainly' it is far better known in its negative form, the same way few know that 'rather' is a comparative. It adds some interesting details to the picture painted in your original post.

    Oh, and a somewhat ill-natured reply from you.

    Please remember that a forum is asynchronous, hence communicating at one remove, and that sometimes there may be a mismatch between the perceptions of the request and the reply. Is this sneering the way you would reply in a conversation with someone? Try looking at this page the way someone might when they have no idea who you and I are.

    A forum not only serves to try to help, answer and discuss the original poster's questions, but also forms a knowledge base that others can search; there are five-year-old posts here that are still getting read and old threads bubble up again as people dig them out and rekindle the discussion.

    What will they make of your response above?

    Here's a thread from 2003 touching on the word: https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...ontranyms.html

    People will come here and search for 'ravel' at some stage, and they will read your charmless words. I do hope you're feeling good about your post, because I am not. And not for the first time.

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    #7

    Re: unravel

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Recenty I read the NYT’s article “20,000 Jobs Lost in 4th Month of Decline” where I noted again a few tangled affairs.
    My attention was focused on the verb “unravel”. I know the two meanings of the verb “ravel” namely “to clarify by separating the aspects of “ and “to tangle or complicate”. This accounts for my embarrassment by translation of the verb “unravel” in my natural language. I am in two minds about the proper meaning in the present context:”disentangle” or “become undone”

    Would you be kind enough explain to me the matter in question?

    There is a brief excerpt from the article mentioned above.

    The American economy lost 20,000 jobs in April, the fourth consecutive month of decline, in what many economists took as powerful evidence that the United States is almost certainly now ensnared in a recession.

    “It strongly argues that this downturn will be mild and short- lived,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “As long as businesses hold the line on their layoffs, the economy will weaken, but it won’t unravel.

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    Regards.

    V.
    Hi, vil. In, Longman's Dict, there is another definition in "unravel" for your consideration:
    [intransitive] if a system, plan, organization etc unravels, it starts to fail.
    E.g.The company started to unravel when two of the directors were arrested.
    (NAT)
    Last edited by albertino; 09-May-2008 at 01:55.

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    #8

    Re: unravel

    Hi albertino,

    Thank you for your reply. Thank you also for your interpretation of the term in question. I take it for gospel truth in the present context.You make yours mark in the world with your subtlety.

    Thank you again for your interest to my post.

    Regards.

    V.

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