Against dictionary?

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Taka

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Most of the dictionaries say the verb "matter" is an intransitive verb. But when you say "That does not matter anything." or "That matters nothing.", do you feel that "matter" is intrarnsitive?

Certain dictionaries say "anything" or "nothing" can be used as adverbs. Well, maybe. But isn't it strange even for you native speakers that "anything", "nothing" in the sentences above can be categorized as adverbs?

Don't you have the feeling that grammatically the verb "matter" in "That does not matter anything." is the same as the verb, for example, "affect" in "That does not affect anything."? Doesn't it feel like they are both transitive verbs, and "anything"s are nouns, not adverbs?

At least to me, thay are completely the same. There is no difference at all.

I just don't get it...
 

Tdol

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I'd say they function as adverbs giving the degree of mattering. ;-)
 

Taka

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tdol said:
I'd say they function as adverbs giving the degree of mattering. ;-)

How would you differentiate "anything" in "That does not matter anything" from the one in "That does not affect anything" if you did not have any knowledge of grammer? I mean, what I'm interested in is the feel, or psychology of native speakers facing those "anything"s which are seemingly the same.

Apart from what is generally stated in dictionaries, don't you think the feel of those "anything"s is the same when you use them in reality?

I think henry says "Yes".
 

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Taka said:
Most of the dictionaries say the verb "matter" is an intransitive verb. But when you say "That does not matter anything." or "That matters nothing.", do you feel that "matter" is intrarnsitive?

Yes, in my opinion, "matter" is an intransitive verb. There is no transfer of action from the subject to an object with "matter". It is a state of being. "To matter" means "to exist at a certain level of importance". One cannot use "exist" as a transitive verb. Something cannot exist something else. Something cannot matter something else.

I would not use the sentences "that matters nothing" or "that does not matter anything". I would say "that does not matter" or "that matters not" or "that matters not at all" or "that doesn't matter at all".

Certain dictionaries say "anything" or "nothing" can be used as adverbs. Well, maybe. But isn't it strange even for you native speakers that "anything", "nothing" in the sentences above can be categorized as adverbs?

"Nothing" and "anything" can be an adverbs in rare uses.

She looks nothing like her sister.
She doesn't look anything like her sister.

If one were to use "that matters nothing" or "that doesn't matter anything", the uses would be similar to those in my examples.

Don't you have the feeling that grammatically the verb "matter" in "That does not matter anything." is the same as the verb, for example, "affect" in "That does not affect anything."? Doesn't it feel like they are both transitive verbs, and "anything"s are nouns, not adverbs?

No, not at all. When something affects something else, it causes a change in that something else. Something cannot matter something else.

:wink:
 

Taka

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Thanks for the detailed explanation, Mike (as always)!

MikeNewYork said:
She looks nothing like her sister.
She doesn't look anything like her sister.

Isn't it possible to interpret "nothing/anything" as nouns and "like" as prepositions?

I know the examples you put are in many dictionaries, but I didn't know such nothing/anything was categorized as an adverb until I opened my dictionary (It was a shock to me, really).
 

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Taka said:
Thanks for the detailed explanation, Mike (as always)!

MikeNewYork said:
She looks nothing like her sister.
She doesn't look anything like her sister.

Isn't it possible to interpret "nothing/anything" as nouns and "like" as prepositions?

I know the examples you put are in many dictionaries, but I did't know such nothing/anything was categorized as an adverb until I opened my dictionary (It was a shock to me, really).

They can't be nouns or pronouns acting as direct objects here. The sense of the sentence in not disturbed by removing them (except for losing the negation in senetnce one).

She looks like her sister.
She doesn't look like her sister.
 

Taka

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MikeNewYork said:
They can't be nouns or pronouns acting as direct objects here.

Yes, I know that. But isn't it possible to use nouns or pronouns as complements of the verb "look"?
 

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Taka said:
MikeNewYork said:
They can't be nouns or pronouns acting as direct objects here.

Yes, I know that. But isn't it possible to use nouns or pronouns as complements of the verb "look"?

Yes it is.

One can say "John looked him in the eye."

If you remove "him", you get "John looked in the eye". The meaning changes from looked at him face to face to doing an eye examination.

This use of "look" means "appears" and the complement is "like her sister" not "nothing/anything.
 

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MikeNewYork said:
[
One can say "John looked him in the eye."

Wa..wait a minute, Mike. Isn't "him" above a direct object and "looked" a transitive verb?

The complement I mean in this case is a word like, say, "a doctor" in "He became a doctor", which explains (therefore, complements) "he".

My question is, isn't it possible to use nouns as such complements for "look"?
 

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Taka said:
MikeNewYork said:
[
One can say "John looked him in the eye."

Wa..wait a minute, Mike. Isn't "him" above a direct object and "looked" a transitive verb?

Yes, it is. Looked can be a transitive verb. That is an example of look with a pronoun complement.

The complement I mean in this case is a word like, say, "a doctor" in "He became a doctor", which explains (therefore, complements) "he".

That is another type of complement. "Became" is an intransitive verb there and "doctor" is a predicate nominative.

My question is, isn't it possible to use nouns as such complements for "look"?

Yes, in the sentence "He looked the fool", looked is an intransitive verb and "fool" is a predicate nominative.

That is quite differerent from "she looked nothing like her sister"
 

Taka

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MikeNewYork said:
Yes, in the sentence "He looked the fool", looked is an intransitive verb and "fool" is a predicate nominative.

That is quite differerent from "she looked nothing like her sister"

OK. So nouns can be used as complements for the intransitive verb "look" but "nothing" cannot be, right?

So, doesn't a sentence like "He looks nothing" make any sense? Even to me it sounds weird, but I don't know if it actually doesn't make any sense or not.
 

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Taka said:
MikeNewYork said:
Yes, in the sentence "He looked the fool", looked is an intransitive verb and "fool" is a predicate nominative.

That is quite differerent from "she looked nothing like her sister"

OK. So nouns can be used as complements for the intransitive verb "look" but "nothing" cannot be, right?

So, doesn't a sentence like "He looks nothing" make any sense? Even to me it sounds weird, but I don't know if it actually doesn't make any sense or not.

I have a hard time fitting "nothing" as a pronoun or any other other pronoun into an intransitive use of "look".

"He looks nothing" doesn't make sense to me. One could say "He looks like a nothing" (nothing turns into a noun there). :wink:
 

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Alright.

Thank you Mike! I really appreciate your answer in detail, always !
 

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Taka said:
Alright.

Thank you Mike! I really appreciate your answer in detail, always !

You're welcome, Taka. :wink:
 

Taka

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Sorry, Mike. Let me ask one more thing to make things clear.

I have a question on this part.

MikeNewYork said:
Yes, in my opinion, "matter" is an intransitive verb. There is no transfer of action from the subject to an object with "matter". It is a state of being.

Is this always true? I mean, if a verb is about a state of being, is it true that it never has a noun to be followed as an object? Take "mean", for example. In my opinion, the verb "mean" indicates a state of being; "That means X" is semantically equivalent to "That is X". However, grammatically "mean" is a transitive verb and, say, in "That means nothing", "nothing" is an object, not an adverb.
 

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Taka said:
Sorry, Mike. Let me ask one more thing to make things clear.

I have a question on this part.

MikeNewYork said:
Yes, in my opinion, "matter" is an intransitive verb. There is no transfer of action from the subject to an object with "matter". It is a state of being.

Is this always true? I mean, if a verb is about a state of being, is it true that it never has a noun to be followed as an object? Take "mean", for example. In my opinion, the verb "mean" indicates a state of being; "That means X" is semantically equivalent to "That is X". However, grammatically "mean" is a transitive verb and, say, in "That means nothing", "nothing" is an object, not an adverb.

That's a very good question. The difference between "matter" and "mean" is subtle, but present. The verb "mean" is synonymous with "signify", "denote", "create", "lead to" etc. When something signifies or denotes something, there is a transfer of action to the object. To highlight the difference, look at the two in intransitive use:

Competence matters. (it exists as something important)
Competence means. (it is really not a state of being, so it doesn't work)

Now, transitive uses:

Competence matters job security. (you can't matter something)
Competence means job security. (that works, it leads to job security)

There is one transitive use of "mean" (as defined by a dictionary).

They mean well.

The dictionary calls it intransitive, because "well" is classified as an adjective/adverb. However, I would argue that "well" is not acting as a modifier in that use. I would argue that "well" is a substantive in that use and means "good things" and "mean" carries the meaning of "intend". It also could be called an "idiom", which relaxes the rules of grammar somewhat. In English, there will always be constructions that are difficult to explain by analogy.
 

Taka

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Wow...amazing! Logical and persuasive.

Hey, Mike. Are you really a vet? If I had not checked your profile, I would have believed that you were a graduate in English education or the like and had been involved in the area for a long time.

Let me call you my "sensei".

You are the best!

Taka

(P.S I was almost giving you the "mean well" example. Hmm..."well" as a noun. Interesting!)
 

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Taka said:
Wow...amazing! Logical and persuasive.

You have just made my day! :multi:

Hey, Mike. Are you really a vet? If I had not checked your profile, I would have believed that you were a graduate in English education or the like and had been involved in the area for a long time.

Yes, I am really a vet. I love English, but I love animals even more. Grammar cannot lick your face. :lol:

I was very fortunate to receive a great education in English and English grammar in elementary school and high school. Except for a couple of courses in college, I have not studied English since.

Let me call you my "sensei".

You are the best!

Taka

(P.S I was almost giving you the "mean well" example. Hmm..."well" as a noun. Interesting!)

I am honored. I like "sensei"; I may change to it from Pope. :lol:

The "mean well" sense is interesting, isn't it?
 

Tdol

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Grammar doesn't need walks when it's raining. ;-)
 
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