To trifle with or to be trifled with

Status
Not open for further replies.

Abusaad

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2004
Hello,

Is it correct to say:

Depression is not something to trifle with
or
Depression is not something to be trifled with.

The whole sentence is: Depression is not something to trifle with as it is a serious medical condition and should be taken seriously.
 

Steven D

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2004
Member Type
English Teacher
Abusaad said:
Hello,

Is it correct to say:

Depression is not something to trifle with
or
Depression is not something to be trifled with.

The whole sentence is: Depression is not something to trifle with as it is a serious medical condition and should be taken seriously.


Both ways are correct.

to trifle - infinitive

to be trifled - infinitive to be + past participle - passive voice

We can use both. In this case I think "to be trifled with" sounds good. In other sentences "to be + past participle" might not sound so good.
 
W

wunaide

Guest
Others might disagree, but to me, usage dictates that there is a slight distinction in meaning between "to trifle with" and "to be trifled with" that goes beyond a question of passive vs active". It might be putting too fine a point on it, but for me "to trifle with something" has a fairly broad meaning that includes that of "to fiddle with something" in the sense that there is physical contact and or interference involved, while "to be trifled with" has a rather more restricted sense of "to be not taken seriously", and does not carry the same implication of physical contact and/or inteference.

Thus though I would myself much prefer

depression is not something to be trifled with as it is a serious medical condition

over

depression is not something to trifle with as it is a serious medical condition,

I don't like

depression is not something to be trifled with as it is a serious medical condition and should be taken seriously

as to my mind it contains a redundancy (ie not something to be trifled with = should be taken seriously).
 

Steven D

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2004
Member Type
English Teacher
wunaide said:
Others might disagree, but to me, usage dictates that there is a slight distinction in meaning between "to trifle with" and "to be trifled with" that goes beyond a question of passive vs active". It might be putting too fine a point on it, but for me "to trifle with something" has a fairly broad meaning that includes that of "to fiddle with something" in the sense that there is physical contact and or interference involved, while "to be trifled with" has a rather more restricted sense of "to be not taken seriously", and does not carry the same implication of physical contact and/or inteference.

Thus though I would myself much prefer

depression is not something to be trifled with as it is a serious medical condition

over

depression is not something to trifle with as it is a serious medical condition,

I don't like

depression is not something to be trifled with as it is a serious medical condition and should be taken seriously

as to my mind it contains a redundancy (ie not something to be trifled with = should be taken seriously).

I see what you mean about the slight distinction.

As far the sentences go, I'm not so sure I see a reduncancy in the last one. However, I understand what you're getting at. I'm just not so sure I'd label it as a redundancy. It's something to consider. I see your point, though.
 

Abusaad

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2004
Here is one more question.

Depression is not something to live with for life.

Depression is not something to live with for a life.

Should there be an "a" before life?
 

Casiopea

VIP Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Member Type
Other
Abusaad said:
Here is one more question.

Depression is not something to live with for life.

Depression is not something to live with for a life.

Should there be an "a" before life?

Depression is not something one should (have to) live with for a lifetime. :wink:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top