"They will be very impacting"

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Killjoy, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Fraggle dealt with that above - it's not similar to "very exciting", it's similar to "very digging".

    If Palin had eliminated the word "very", we probably wouldn't be poking fun - as it is, very poking is to be expected: because with it, it doesn't sound fine.
     
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  3. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    I am used to the word "impacting" in that sort of construction meaning "making a strong (emotional or psychological) impression." If she had omitted the "very" it would still sound odd to my ear, in that context.
     
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Past participles have to abide by the same rule as gerunds: It has to qualify as an adjective before it can be treated as one grammatically. Does dental impaction come in degrees? If the tooth is visible but doesn't stick up past the gum level it's "slightly" impacted, but if it's completely buried under gum tissue it's "very impacted?" I'm not a dentist so I don't know.
    But what does "very chirping" mean? Chirping loudly? Chirping quickly? Chirping beautifully? Chirping for a long time? Many birds chirping at once? Several different species chirping together, forming a cacophony? Making up expressions is not communication if nobody has any idea what you mean. That's arguably worse than Sarah Palin. We can usually figure out what she's trying to say, with a little effort. Then we can play the game, "Is that a literal translation of Estonian grammar, or Cherokee?"
    At least it would more closely resemble standard English. She might almost be able to pass for a native speaker of English, instead of someone from Turkmenistan who learned the language by watching rap videos.
     
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  7. John99 Banned Banned

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    Fraggle, 'very' is a reference to the quantity.

    Doesnt matter if it SOUNDS 'fine' or not. You are just not used to hearing it, may be due to conditioning.

    'very impacting' is as fine and correct as 'very ...ing' anything else. Like using THE bad word
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  8. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I have to disagree there - it's one thing to use language in an unusual way that still communicates clearly, but if you said that birds were "very chirping" I would be genuinely unsure what you meant. "Very" is applied to adjectives, not verbs. The birds might be "very chirpy" or something, but "very chirping" just doesn't make sense.
     
  9. John99 Banned Banned

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    stupefying?
     
  10. John99 Banned Banned

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    This works:

    The object was very stupefying.
     
  11. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Or enticing, empowering, tiring, taxing, boring, etc. But if you say "The dog is very running," or "The driver is very driving," I don't think most people will immediately understand what you're trying to communicate.
     
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Very using "very" with anything ending in "ing" is very nothing correct. It is not very fining and very correcting, very anything or very nothing very meaning. It is not very meaningful English, and the only thing it communicates is that Palin doesn't talk sense or express herself in such a manner as to be accountable for the meaning of what she has actually said - which is a great advantage in her case (as with her fellow travelers in bigotspeak land), because if people more clearly understood what she actually meant many more would be very reacting negatively.
    If you're sure; you can be her official translator, then - I took it to be the intensifier it normally is, alluding to "strong" or "noticeable" or "dramatic" impact, and not a quantity of impacts or whatever.
     
  13. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I can't help but agree with you; your post was very convincing.
     
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Using "very" with some words ending is "...ing" is okay (see post above)

    I would agree, though, that "very" is a weak word to use - not in meaning but in usage, even if used correctly. If I'm aware that I've used it to help express an extreme then I tend to try and use more extreme verbs / adjectives etc that convey the message without the word "very". In that regard I consider it weak like "nice".

    As for correct grammar, I think when the "...ing" word is a continuous verb that contains a notion of quantity / level (explicit or implicit) or one that requires such quantification, then "very ...ing" is a reasonable phrase: such as "that film was very boring" which does express an extreme beyond the mere "that film was boring". But as said, I find it to be a fairly weak descriptor when one can express oneself better through metaphors or similes, such as "that film was as boring as watching paint dry".

    However, a verb such as "to impact" is, to me, fairly digital in nature - either it impacts or it doesn't. So I find "very impacting" to seem somehow wrong. In this regard it would be like "He is very running" - where running has no quantifier - either you run or you don't.

    But if one is used to a varying degree of "impacting" then perhaps such quantifier is apt in this regard, if somewhat weak in form.

    Meh. "Very impacting" just sounds wrong. But so does "George W Bush was President of the USA". :/
     
  15. John99 Banned Banned

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    I can't help but agree with you; your post was very impacting.
     
  16. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    See Sarkus's post above. It seems to me that my post either impacted, or it missed. To impact or not is a pretty binary proposition, without degrees or gradiation, unless perhaps you're considering the possibility that my post might have grazed its target, or struck at an oblique angle and ricocheted off it.

    A post could, however, be very convincing or only slightly convincing, or extremely boring vs. only moderately boring, etc. since there are different possible degrees of boringness.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Not really. One primary meaning of "to impact," as either a transitive or intransitive verb, is to make forceful contact with something. A secondary meaning is to have an effect or influence. The forcefulness, effect or influence could be of varying intensity.

    BTW, there is only one I in "gradation."
     
  18. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    That's a classic example (if contrived) of how NOT to speak a foreign language: Compose your thoughts in your native language, then translate them, one word at a time, into the second language.

    Speakers of Slavic languages, Hungarian and others often say, "Next year I will be visit grandson in New York," because that's the way their languages form the future tense: "will be" plus the infinitive.

    This is why I accuse Sarah Palin of talking like a foreigner. It's not just a generic insult. She really does put sentences together as if she knows the meaning of the individual words, but hasn't quite mastered English syntax, particularly vernacular English.
    • Her memory contains the adverb "very" and the verb "to impact."
    • She remembers from her English-As-A-Second-Language class that adverbs modify verbs.
    • She remembers the lesson on constructing the present progressive tense out of a gerund and the verb "to be."
    • She puts all that together to form the technically correct sentence, THIS -- WILL BE -- VERY -- IMPACTING.
    But she doesn't have enough mastery over her second language to realize that:
    • Like Chinese, English grammar has more micro-rules than macro-rules. Gerunds may function as quasi-adjectives but that doesn't mean that they all can take the adverb "very" indiscriminately.
    • "Impact" is also a noun.
    • "Very" is a vague word.
    • The meaning she wants to convey can be expressed more clearly and forcefully (not to mention in more familiar syntax) by rewording the sentence to use "impact" as a noun and to modify it with an adjective instead of an adverb.
    • They will have a loud/strong/memorable/positive/unmistakable/persuasive impact.
    This is the kind of syntax I would expect from a speaker of, say, Japanese, whose syntax (topic-description) is nothing at all like English syntax (subject-verb-object), so she can translate words and phrases with fair accuracy, but not a complete sentence.

    A politicial leader's ONLY job is to communicate. A person who cannot speak his or her own native language correctly--following all the unwritten rules of vernacular grammar and syntax--is not qualified to be one.

    Imagine her trying to negotiate a truce between the Russians and the Chechens, or the Israelis and Palestinians.
     
  20. John99 Banned Banned

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    Fraggle, this is the linguistics forum. We are only discussing the phrase here.

    Technically correct is correct. I was explaining to the others that they never heard it that way before and assumed it was wrong.
     
  21. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    No chance. Not when you can a have free shot blindfolded with a blancmange and still hit the target.
     
  22. John99 Banned Banned

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    Well i cant compromise myself. If something is right i say it os right and if it is wrong i say it is wrong.

    And THAT is why people here give me a hard time. Well maybe i am stupid, if being honest means i am stupid then i really dont know any other way to be.
     
  23. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    But you do satire so well.
     

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