A water lily grows in/from/out of mud

Discussion in 'English Only' started by arueng, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. arueng Senior Member

    Many Chinese love water lilies because they grow in/from//out of mud, but don't get muddy. Instead, they are pure, beautiful, and fragrant.


    Is it right to use in, from, and out of in the above context? If yes, are they about the same in meaning? Thanks.
  2. Toadie

    Toadie Senior Member

    I wouldn't say any of them are wrong, per se, but I'm more inclined to say 'in'.

    EDIT: I've changed my mind. I do think it would be wrong to say 'from'. That would have a different meaning. A plants grow in soil/water/sand/etc., and they grow from seeds.
  3. arueng Senior Member

    Thanks, Toadie, for the clear reply.

    By the way, does this sound right: a flower grows on manure?
  4. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Hello, Arueng. :) Though I can't answer for Toadie, I can tell you that it would sound fine to say something like: I saw the flower growing on the manure pile. This emphasizes the flower's physical position on top of the manure. To say that flowers grow in manure is to emphasize the growth of their roots within the manure itself.
  5. Toadie

    Toadie Senior Member

    This makes sense. I didn't know what my opinion was on that question so I waited for someone else to answer. :)

    That said, I don't think people think this much into something like this when they say it. In every day speech, I think you could say pretty much any of the things you've suggested, and you would be understood in the same general way every time.
  6. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    I'd say "in mud". This is because the tuber or corm or root sits in the mud at the bottom of a pond.
  7. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    To emphasize the next clause I'd choose out of the mud: ... they grow out of the mud, but don't get muddy. To grow out of the mud means to pierce the mud from beneath, whereas to grow out of mud means to draw nourishment from mud.
  8. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Water lilies obviously grow in water and with respect to this particular plant, I would say that the lilies are rooted in mud.
  9. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    British English
    Arueng, I have heard this as a saying, "Water lilies grow from mud", meaning that beautiful things can come from what is not so beautiful. I am assuming that it is something like this that you have in mind and not a lesson on how to grow water lilies.

    You could certainly invent a saying with the same imagery, "Flowers can grow from dung heaps/dunghills". I have chosen dung heap/hill because it is a more 'dirty';) sounding word than manure. Dung is an ancient word with very Old Germanic origins. Manure is only about 500 years old apparently.



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