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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
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    #1

    It isn't easy being or to be

    Which one is correct?
    1 Sometimes it isn't easy being the new kid at school, but I had a wonderful time on Saturday night.
    2 Sometimes it isn't easy to be the new kid at school, but I had a wonderful time on Saturday night.
    Last edited by naroad; 16-Jun-2008 at 06:33.


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    #2

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    Quote Originally Posted by naroad View Post
    Which one is correct?
    1 Sometimes it isn't easy being the new kid at what?], but I had a wonderful time on Saturday night.
    2 Sometimes it isn't easy to be the new kid at [what?], but I had a wonderful time on Saturday night.
    You need "new kid at {something}, Naroad.


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    #3

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    I'm so sorry.

    Which one is correct?
    1 Sometimes it isn't easy being the new kid at school, but I had a wonderful time on Saturday night.
    2 Sometimes it isn't easy to be the new kid at school, but I had a wonderful time on Saturday night.


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    #4

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    Quote Originally Posted by naroad View Post
    I'm so sorry.


    No big deal, Naroad.


    Which one is correct?
    1 Sometimes it isn't easy being the new kid at school, but I had a wonderful time on Saturday night.
    2 Sometimes it isn't easy to be the new kid at school, but I had a wonderful time on Saturday night.
    Both are fine.


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    #5

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    Thank you.


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    #6

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    There is a difference in meaning between the two expressions, such that in your given context

    Sometimes it isn't easy to be the new kid at school.

    it is paradoxical. It is quite easy to be the new kid at school. All it takes is, you have never attended that school before, and...walk in and enrol. Voila, you have suddenly become the new kid at school.

    'being the new kid' implies going through the process of fitting in, finding friends when social groups have already formed.

    Can you see the difference between:
    Sometimes it isn't easy to be the President.
    Sometimes it isn't easy being the President.

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    #7

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    There is a difference in meaning between the two expressions, such that in your given context

    Sometimes it isn't easy to be the new kid at school.

    it is paradoxical. It is quite easy to be the new kid at school. All it takes is, you have never attended that school before, and...walk in and enrol. Voila, you have suddenly become the new kid at school.

    'being the new kid' implies going through the process of fitting in, finding friends when social groups have already formed.

    Can you see the difference between:
    Sometimes it isn't easy to be the President.
    Sometimes it isn't easy being the President.
    Then what does the first sentence means ?


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    #8

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    I'm just wondering how David's concept will work in a sentence like:

    It isn't easy to be / being a mother.

    I think a gerund form sounds more emotional in this type of sentences. Other things depend on context.


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    #9

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    Is a girl of 10 able to be a good mother? I think we would agree on that answer. What then, with someone 18-24, when the baby pops out, makes them suddenly turn into a 'good enough' mother, in their eyes, and that of social welfare agencies? They often turn to clinic sisters, their mothers, friends with babies for advice as they learn to become attuned to their new baby's rhythms and needs, and able to distinguish which of the four crying sounds a baby makes means what etc etc
    It's not easy to be a mother, to acquire/develop mothering skills. Not panicking if a baby gets a slight temperature etc.

    Then, with experience, and the stages that different children go through, and some of their behaviours which test your patience and love to the limit, but you react as a parent, not out of anger or exasperation, then...it's not easy at times being a mother/parent/father.


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    #10

    Re: It isn't easy being or to be

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    There is a difference in meaning between the two expressions, such that in your given context

    Sometimes it isn't easy to be the new kid at school.

    it is paradoxical. It is quite easy to be the new kid at school. All it takes is, you have never attended that school before, and...walk in and enrol. Voila, you have suddenly become the new kid at school.

    'being the new kid' implies going through the process of fitting in, finding friends when social groups have already formed.

    Can you see the difference between:
    Sometimes it isn't easy to be the President.
    Sometimes it isn't easy being the President.
    I don't agree with my learned colleague, in the sense that 'to be' isn't paradoxical unless the speaker means it to be paradoxical. The two original sentences have identical meanings. Allowed that there are differences in nuance. The linguist, the late Dwight Bolinger described this difference.

    Thinking about camping - I like to camp.

    Sitting around a campfire, camping - I like camping.

    With 'to be', the speaker is somewhat more distanced from the situation. It could be that the speaker is talking more about a theoretical situation. With the 'ing' form "being", there is a greater sense of immediacy, of being involved in the situation.

    But these differences are not cast in stone. In fact, as Professor Bolinger and others have noted, more studies would be needed to see if his theory holds.

    A native speaker, directly involved in such a situation could still choose to use 'to be', maybe as a way of trying to distance themselves from the situation.

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