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I was ashamed of speaking to him.

Did I speak to him or not?
 

Red5

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Good question!
 

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navi said:
I was ashamed of speaking to him.

Did I speak to him or not?

:hi: Navi,

If you said "I am ashamed to speak with him", my guess is that you have not yet spoken to them.

If you said "I was ashamed to speak with him", I think it is a bit ambiguous and not certain given the context.

For example:

A1: "Why did you not speak with him?"
B1: "I was ashamed to speak with him."

A2: "Why did react like that after speaking with him?"
B2: "I was ashamed to speak with him, so that's why I reacted like that."

A3: "How did you find your aural test?"
B3: "At first I was ashamed to speak with the examiner because I worried about my grasp of the language, but as time went on I relaxed a bit and no longer felf ashamed."

;-)
 

navi tasan

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Thanks Red5, but the problem is that you have changed the sentence.
"I was ashamed OF SPEAKING..." not "TO speak"!
I had asked the "to speak" one before! I think it was Mike who had answered it.
"I was ashamed of speaking to him."
 

Red5

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A1: "Why did you not speak with him?"
B1: "I was ashamed of speaking with him."

A2: "Why did react like that after speaking with him?"
B2: "I was ashamed of speaking with him, so that's why I reacted like that."

A3: "How did you find your aural test?"
B3: "At first I was ashamed of speaking with the examiner because I worried about my grasp of the language, but as time went on I relaxed a bit and no longer felf ashamed."

There doesn't seem to be much difference, but I might well be wrong. I'll duck out and let the real teachers take over before I confuse the hell out of everyone! ;-)
 

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navi said:
I was ashamed of speaking to him.

Did I speak to him or not?

I kind of like Red 5's suggestions. Moreover, Speaking to him is what I was ashamed of. (Noun) The emphasis here is on the act, not the action. Note there's a linking verb. In other words, it's the act of speaking, that I was ashamed of at the time. Whether I spoke to him or not, is unknown to the reader because it's not stated. :)
 

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navi said:
I was ashamed of speaking to him.

Did I speak to him or not?

In my opinion, you did speak to him. The original version "I was ashamed to speak to him", is ambiguous and, as we stated before, we could add "too" to that to clear it up. "I was too ashamed to speak with him" would imply that you did not speak to him.

This new version changes an infinitive "to speak" to a gerund "(of) speaking". We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action. When one says "I was ashamed to speak to him", the potential conversation is making one uncomfortable, but one might have overcome the discomfort. When one says "I was ashamed of speaking to him", it is a real action that caused the shame. I would, therefore, conclude that you spoke to him and that made you ashamed.

:wink:
 

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MikeNewYork said:
We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action.

Well, that is definitely the case 'in some constructions':

I like to walk. (potential)
I like walking. (concrete)

However, in the case of 'was ashamed of', we have a State of being 'ashamed': be + participle + 'of', with focus on the state of being:

I was ashamed of speaking to him.

As is, we do not know if the speaking event happened or didn't happen. Additional context would be required to determine that. :wink:
 

henry

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MikeNewYork said:
navi said:
I was ashamed of speaking to him.

Did I speak to him or not?

In my opinion, you did speak to him. The original version "I was ashamed to speak to him", is ambiguous and, as we stated before, we could add "too" to that to clear it up. "I was too ashamed to speak with him" would imply that you did not speak to him.

This new version changes an infinitive "to speak" to a gerund "(of) speaking". We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action. When one says "I was ashamed to speak to him", the potential conversation is making one uncomfortable, but one might have overcome the discomfort. When one says "I was ashamed of speaking to him", it is a real action that caused the shame. I would, therefore, conclude that you spoke to him and that made you ashamed.

:wink:

What about " I am ashamed of speaking to him?"

In my opinion, I haven't started yet to speak to him, right?

And If you put this sentence into past tense, then the result remains the same, only the time of event is changed. :?:
 

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henry said:
MikeNewYork said:
navi said:
I was ashamed of speaking to him.

Did I speak to him or not?

In my opinion, you did speak to him. The original version "I was ashamed to speak to him", is ambiguous and, as we stated before, we could add "too" to that to clear it up. "I was too ashamed to speak with him" would imply that you did not speak to him.

This new version changes an infinitive "to speak" to a gerund "(of) speaking". We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action. When one says "I was ashamed to speak to him", the potential conversation is making one uncomfortable, but one might have overcome the discomfort. When one says "I was ashamed of speaking to him", it is a real action that caused the shame. I would, therefore, conclude that you spoke to him and that made you ashamed.

:wink:

What about " I am ashamed of speaking to him?"

In my opinion, I haven't started yet to speak to him, right?

And If you put this sentence into past tense, then the result remains the same, only the time of event is changed. :?:

I'm sure Mike will respond soon. In the meantime, consider the following:

I am ashamed of speaking to him is ambiguous. It could mean,

1. I am ashamed of speaking to him, so I won't speak to him.
2. I am ashamed of speaking to him, but despite the fact that I feel ashamed, I will overcome that feeling and speak to him anyway.

I was ashamed of speaking to him is also ambiguous:

1. I was ashamed, so I didn't speak to him.
2. I was ashamed, but I spoke to him anyway.
 

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Casiopea said:
MikeNewYork said:
We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action.

Well, that is definitely the case 'in some constructions':

I like to walk. (potential)
I like walking. (concrete)

However, in the case of 'was ashamed of', we have a State of being 'ashamed': be + participle + 'of', with focus on the state of being:

I was ashamed of speaking to him.

As is, we do not know if the speaking event happened or didn't happen. Additional context would be required to determine that. :wink:

I don't agree. When someone says "I was ashamed of (an action)" the shame arises from completing that action, not the potential of completing that action.
 

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henry said:
MikeNewYork said:
navi said:
I was ashamed of speaking to him.

Did I speak to him or not?

In my opinion, you did speak to him. The original version "I was ashamed to speak to him", is ambiguous and, as we stated before, we could add "too" to that to clear it up. "I was too ashamed to speak with him" would imply that you did not speak to him.

This new version changes an infinitive "to speak" to a gerund "(of) speaking". We often talk about the difference in meaning between gerunds and infinitives in some constructions. This is a case, IMO, where the two verbals have different meanings. The infinitive form is often used to describe a potential action, while the gerund is often used to describe a concrete action. When one says "I was ashamed to speak to him", the potential conversation is making one uncomfortable, but one might have overcome the discomfort. When one says "I was ashamed of speaking to him", it is a real action that caused the shame. I would, therefore, conclude that you spoke to him and that made you ashamed.

:wink:

What about " I am ashamed of speaking to him?"

In my opinion, I haven't started yet to speak to him, right?

And If you put this sentence into past tense, then the result remains the same, only the time of event is changed. :?:

In my opinion, changing the verb to present tense just moves the shame to the present from the past. You spoke to him in the past and you are now (still) ashamed. IMO, you still spoke to him in the past. I see a difference in concreteness between "ashamed to speak" and "ashamed of speaking".

It might be clearer if you change "of" to "about".

I am/was ashamed about speaking to him.
 

navi tasan

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Thanks Red5, Mike, Casiopea and Henry.
Apparently it wasn't such a bad question!
If one can replace "of" with "about", then I suppose one has to conclude that Mike is right.
This is one of those funny situations. Since you are natvie speakers I am sure that you use this sentence in the same way when it comes to concrete situations. But when one asks you the question, then you have doubts!
 

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navi tasan said:
Thanks Red5, Mike, Casiopea and Henry.
Apparently it wasn't such a bad question!
If one can replace "of" with "about", then I suppose one has to conclude that Mike is right.
This is one of those funny situations. Since you are natvie speakers I am sure that you use this sentence in the same way when it comes to concrete situations. But when one asks you the question, then you have doubts!

You're welcome. It was a very good question. Even native speakers will disagree about some shades of meaning in English. We moderators come from three different countries and there are some differences in how we use the language. :wink:
 

navi tasan

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Well, that does make the whole thing interesting and sometimes frustrating.
I always have to remind myself that sometimes there are no hard and fast rules.
 

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navi tasan said:
Well, that does make the whole thing interesting and sometimes frustrating.
I always have to remind myself that sometimes there are no hard and fast rules.

At times, it is easier to agree on structure than on meaning. :wink:
 

navi tasan

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Good point. Very good point. An analysis of that would propbably throw some light on language-acquisition mecanisms.
One says to oneself, "I have heard that before, but in what context? It is correct, but what does it mean?" Of-course this could happen only with sentences which are or might be ambiguous.
 

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navi tasan said:
Good point. Very good point. An analysis of that would propbably throw some light on language-acquisition mecanisms.
One says to oneself, "I have heard that before, but in what context? It is correct, but what does it mean?" Of-course this could happen only with sentences which are or might be ambiguous.

Very good analysis. :wink:
 
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