He was lucky to escape being hurt.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mimi2, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi,
    When reading this sentence, I wonder if it is necessary to use gerund "being hurt", simply "hurt" is possible or it needs "from" --> from hurt.
    1. He was lucky to escape being hurt.
    2. He was lucky to escape hurt.
    3. He was lucky to escape from hurt.
    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. jet_leader1 Senior Member

    British English
    Hello mimi2,

    The three sentences all have different meanings, but I think you mean the 3rd one since the first two are a bit strange.

    3. He was lucky from (being) hurt.
     
  3. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    Hi mimi2,

    They each mean different things, so you can't substitute one for another.

    1. He was lucky to avoid being hurt (he wasn't hurt at all).

    2. This one is a bit ambiguous. It could mean he was lucky to avoid being hurt, or he was lucky to escape and only be hurt (not killed). I would tend towards thinking this sentence was saying the second thing.

    3. He was being hurt but then he escaped from the situation where he was being hurt, and that was lucky.

    I hope that helps. :)
     
  4. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Thank you, cycloneviv.
    Thanks for explanation. I don’t know how much they have changed meanings when I add or omit one or two words.
    As for the second sentence:
    “He was lucky to escape hurt.”
    Does it mean that he would have been killed but he was lucky that he was only injured?
    Thanks.
     
  5. stezza Banned

    english italian
    'He was lucky to escape hurt' isn't English. Hurt in this context is a noun. As such you would be better off using injury:

    He was lucky to escape/avoid injury.

    If you want the sentence to mean what cycloneviv suggested, you would really need to place a comma after escape:

    He was lucky to escape, hurt. (The implication being that he could so easily have been killed)
     
  6. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    I would read it as saying he was lucky to only be hurt. He could easily have been more dramatically effected, for example permanently disfigured, had to have limbs amputated or been killed. In other words, what he suffered was not as bad as it could have been.

    It is a bit scary how the meaning is changed with just the addition (or removal) or a word or two, as I find when I do my French homework! :D
     
  7. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Thank you stezza.
    Thank you cycloneviv.
    :)
     
  8. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    That's absolutely correct. I was getting my nouns and adjectives confused. :eek: I really need to think a bit harder before typing!
     
  9. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
     
  10. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi stezza.
    Is "hurt" in this sentence a verb or a noun?
    I think it is a verb. Right?
     
  11. stezza Banned

    english italian
    In actual fact it is an adjective.
     
  12. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I call it a participle (verbal adjective). The usual term for this type of participle is "past" participle, but it doesn't really have tense but expresses voice (passive, not active) and possibly aspect (perfective, not progressive, frequentative, inchoative, etc.).

    By the way, the comma is needed to distinguish this particular participle from the noun "hurt".
     
  13. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    I disagree about the need for the comma. You may have suggested it as a way to disambiguate the meaning, but unfortunately it has the side effect of giving the impression that "hurt" is nonessential information when in fact it is essential.

    Compare:

    1. He was lucky to escape in one piece.
    2. He was lucky to escape, in one piece.

    Would you ever write #2? I wouldn't.
    For the reasons stated above, I find that strategy questionable. If I wanted to completely avoid ambiguity, I would reword the sentence.
     
  14. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I agree. I think I would reword this particular sentence too.

    But I can still imagine a sentence of the same form but with a past participle that would not get confused with a noun.
     
  15. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    Me too. ;) And that case, I wouldn't even think of using a comma.
     
  16. domangelo Senior Member

    United States English
    I see myself throwing in the word "get" here, in a conversational style, at least:

    1. He was lucky he got away without getting hurt.

    OR the other meaning:

    2. He was lucky to get away with just getting hurt.
     
  17. keithdraws New Member

    England English
    I would write this as it is less confusing:
    Luckily, though hurt, he escaped. (to say he was injured before he escaped)
    or
    Luckily he escaped unhurt. (to say he escaped and was not hurt)
     
  18. Ynez Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Would it be possible normal English to say?:

    1. He was lucky to escape while being hurt.

    2. He was lucky to escape though being hurt.
     
  19. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Hi, mimi.

    I want to return to your original question, if I may.

    Did you mean to ask about what form(s) of the verb hurt are possible, or if the word hurt has to be treated as a verb only?

    Out of context, the most likely meanings I see for these three sentences are:

    1. "He was lucky to escape being hurt." He completely escaped any getting hurt. Passive voice. He was lucky because nobody and nothing hurt him at all.
    2. "He was lucky to escape hurt." Practically the same meaning as #1, but using the noun hurt, which actually refers not to getting hurt but to the pain, etc., that would have come from having been hurt if he had been.
    3. "He was lucky to escape from hurt." The noun hurt as in #2, but here, though he escaped hurt that could have been, he may have been hurt some before he escaped.

    Hi, Inez.

    These are both possible but very different from what I think mimi was asking about.

    Your #1 means that he escaped (from something not mentioned here) during the time something was hurting him. I wouldn’t call it normal to be so nonchalant about being hurt that you could call him lucky without qualification in such a situation, whatever it was.

    Your #2 means that being hurt did not prevent his escape (from something not mentioned), even if he was still being hurt as he escaped. Again, I would be hard pressed to see how this could make him lucky. I would put a comma between "escape" and "though".
     
  20. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    1. He was lucky to escape being hurt.
    2. He was lucky to escape hurt.
    3. He was lucky to escape from hurt.

    My impression, reinforced by the discussion, is that these are not good, natural, English sentences.
     
  21. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I find them natural enough, but I feel that they cry out for context, and I can't call them good (or not good) without knowing their intent.
     
  22. Ynez Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Thank you Forero :) I had thought of both sentences with the same idea in mind, from your words I can see that's not the case.
     
  23. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi, Forero.
    I found the sentence “He was lucky to escape being hurt” in my grammar book when I learn “the gerund”. It is an example to tell me how to use the verb “escape”.
    When I read it, I think why not shorten it by cutting “being”
    He was lucky to escape hurt.
    When doing that, I don’t know that I changed “hurt” from a past participle to a noun and of course the meaning would change too.
    Then knowing that the verb “escape” going with the preposition “from”, I think of another sentence with “from”
    He was lucky to escape from hurt.
    I don’t know that my adding, my omitting made the original sentence change the meaning.
    I learned a lot from your opinions.
    Thank you for all your help.
     
  24. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    If you want a form of "to hurt" after "escape", you need a form that can act as a noun (with or without "from"). The gerund, in this case a passive gerund, is the most obvious choice.

    In some sentences, an infinitive beginning with "to" can be used as a noun, but not here, because after "escape", "to" would be interpreted as a preposition, and a prepositional phrase does not work as a noun. That makes a gerund the only choice.

    An active gerund (rather than a passive one) is also possible, but it would have a different meaning:

    "He was lucky to escape hurting."

    With no direct object, "hurting" is intransitive and means feeling pain. In this context, it would mean not that he escaped injury but that he escaped feeling pain, possibly by taking morphine.
     
  25. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi, Forero.
    This time your explanation about the gerund is more valuable.
    It helped me know more about how to use the gerund.
    And the last example and the explanation for it is great.
    Thanks.
     

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