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I'll live.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ryu, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. Ryu Senior Member

    Japan and Japanese
    Hi!

    I sometimes hear the expression, "I'll live." or "He'll live." A dictionary says: used to say that you do not think someone should get too upset about something. This definition lost me.

    When you say "I'll live" or "He'll live," what is that you want to say? In what situation would you use it? Does it simply mean "I'm okay"? Please help me.

    Thanks in advance,

    Ryu
     
  2. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    "I'll live" = I'll survive, I'll get over it, it won't overcome me

    "He'll live" = He'll survive, He'll get over it, it won't overcome him.

    It's not used to express that someone shouldn't be too upset about something. That could be an underlying connotation, but the primary thrust of the expression is that the problem at hand is not unsurmountable. Whether or not one "should" get upset is not directly related to the expression. Perhaps the problem actually is worth getting upset over, but I'll/he'll "live" nevertheless.
     
  3. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Elroy-- I think the "shouldn't be too upset" part has to do with the person being spoken to, by the one who says "I'll live."

    Elroy is at a party, balancing an overpiled plate of scampi Neuberg and new-potato salad insouciantly dressed with truffle-infused caper vinaigrette. He loses his grip on the damn thing and dumps most of it down the back of a young lady's low-cut Bugatti soirée gown, tastefully spangled with seed pearls and faux émeraudes.

    "Oh my gawd," he stammers. "I'm so mortified, I've destroyed your beautiful Bugatti and in all probability ruined your evening!"

    She regards him with icy aplomb. "Don't concern yourself. I'll live."

    "I can't begin to tell me how embarrased I am!"

    "Then don't. Even begin. It's all right, really. But one thing?"

    "Yes, yes-- anything! Just name it."

    "As long as you're determined to be embarrassed, be embarrassed about the Ralph Lauren you've just despoiled. A Bugatti is a vintage sports car."
     
  4. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Of course! That must be it. :thumbsup:

    Sorry, I must have gotten distracted by the delectable plate - and then trying to curry favor with the subtly coquettish prima donna whose evening I ruined (I still feel bad about it, but at least I got her to notice me).

    Incidentally, if Bugatti is a sports car, why did you use the term in your narrative?
     
  5. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    You might as well ask why I said "tastefully spangled." According to whose taste?

    It's a fiction-writing convention called point-of-view narrative. Fiction written in the third person ("Elroy is at a party...) in which everything is depicted as he sees it, and of course interprets it. If a longer work of fiction contains a succession of chapters, each written via a different POV character, a reader can build a picture of the fictive world that is more complete than that of any inside that world, who see it all from only one particular angle. One can write a complex scene through various people's ways of interpreting it, and the reader can delight in knowing when some poor schmo is heading into a situation he has woefully misinterpreted, using tactics that are a formula for disaster-- or a good pratfall, if the book is comedic. The reader, and not just the author, gets to play God.

    In fact the author, if he's any good, can disappear behind the tapestry of alternately-woven perspectives. Was Shakespeare a rebel or a royalist? A callow and posturing juvenile dumshit like Hamlet, or a platitudinous gassy oldfart like Polonius? To hear people quote "Shakespeare" as a font of aphorism, you'd think he was all these things.

    So "Elroy goes to a party..." establishes him as the lens through which things are misnamed Bugattis and woefully misdiagnosed as tasteful. In point of fact that gown was as garish and gauchely outré as the one Marilyn Monroe promised not to wear at JFK's birthday party. And I didn't notice that it was particularly low-cut, but Elroy must've gotten a whole closer look at it than I did.
     
  6. He'll live - He will live
    I'll live - I will live

    Uh-huh. You do not think someone should get too upset about something because eventually, you will get over the idea, or the problem. You will survive. As I always quote: Time heals all ills. This, too, shall pass.
     
  7. jacinta Senior Member

    California
    USA English
    I use this phrase with my kids, especially when they were younger. If they came to me with a scrape, I'd look at it and say (if there was not an inordinate amount of blood), "Oh, you're fine. You'll live." :)
     
  8. Ryu Senior Member

    Japan and Japanese
    Thank you, folks.

    I thought "xx'll live" is used when the person is physically in danger or faces a threat of death or injury, as in US comedy "Monk" where a supermarket security guard said "I'll live" when he took care of an unleashed ferocious doberman, or in Terminator II, where the Terminator shot a guard in the leg and said "He'll live" (he was ordered by young John Connor not to kill anybody, so he shot the man in the leg).

    But given your explanation, I can use it when the problem is not about life.

    So when you use "xx'll live," generally speaking the person "who will live" suffered some damage, either physical, mental, psychological or financial, and can cope with the damage as a result of physical or psychological strength rather than out of bluff or pretention. Is this understanding correct?
     
  9. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    I see. I guess I had just never run across such a construction with a concrete noun. No reason that should make it any different, of course, or any less familiar, but I guess I was just parochial in my perspective. Thanks to your elaboration, my tapestry of literary perspectives is becoming more piebald.
     
  10. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Well, there's no way to tell whether the person is lying or pretending. You could say "I'll live" even if you don't think you won't. In fact, sometimes it's more of a statement of resolution, meaning something along the lines of "I will do what I can to 'live.' " Furthermore, it can be modified with phrases such as "I'm sure" and "I guess" ("I'm sure I"ll live"; "I guess I'll live") which don't indicate certainty. The point is that the word means "I will survive," regardless of any subconscious or ulterior dispositions of the speaker.

    As for your other suspicion, it is correct: the phrase can be used in a literal way.
     

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