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    #1

    Prostrate or prostitute?

    Hello, in the Cambridge yesterday a guy shouted something before throwing a shoe at the Chinese prime minister.

    What he said has two versions:

    1--- How can this university prostitute itself with the dictator here?

    2---How can this university prostrate itself with the dictator here?

    I want to know which should be the right one regarding the use of these two verbs, or both are acceptable in the form of 'verb + itself with'.

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Prostrate or prostitute?

    How can this university prostitute itself with the dictator here? = How can the university sell out its ideals...

    How can this university prostrate itself with the dictator here? = How can the university humiliate itself (by lying face down in excessive respect)...

    Both can be used, and the grammar is beyond reproach.

    I suspect the guy used "prostitute". Just the way shoe-throwers think, I imagine. "Prostrate" is a very literary word.

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    #3

    Re: Prostrate or prostitute?

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    How can this university prostitute itself with the dictator here? = How can the university sell out its ideals...

    How can this university prostrate itself with the dictator here? = How can the university humiliate itself (by lying face down in excessive respect)...

    Both can be used, and the grammar is beyond reproach.

    I suspect the guy used "prostitute". Just the way shoe-throwers think, I imagine. "Prostrate" is a very literary word.

    Thank you. Prostrate oneself with someone=prostrate oneself before someone,is that correct?

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    #4

    Re: Prostrate or prostitute?

    No, not quite. The division of words is "prostrate yourself"/"with X here".

    So the prostration, the humiliation, is general, not specifically in front of X; but it happens while X is here.

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    #5

    Re: Prostrate or prostitute?

    "prostrate" is used more to imply unbelievable grief or submission. For example, when you see someone in a newsclip who has witnessed the horror of a car bomb or similar atrocity, and they are on the ground in despair, they are said to be prostrate.

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    #6

    Re: Prostrate or prostitute?

    Thanks much.
    I am more convinced that the guy said and meant Cambridge prostituted itself with the dictator, although some misheard it as 'prostrated itself' and posted a different version online.

    By the way it is very pathetic of the Chinese media to have been ordered to whitewash the description of the incident as 'a disruption' without telling people what really happened. They made a big thing out of the shoe thrown at Bush by rationalizing the incident in Iraq and now they've fallen into a kind of dilemma. Any poster refering to the incident as shoe-throwing has been deleted, even for those comdemning the thrower. People can only be informed that a speech disruption occured and no further details are available.

    But this is an Internet era and people have been for long seeking other sources for information. What they are doing is just another proof that the shoe-throwing may have some merits.

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Prostrate or prostitute?

    The words mean two different things. Both make sense and, in this context, basically mean the same thing.

    [I edit copy and have tutored university writing.]

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