"Abide by rules" OR simply "Abide rules"

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Ovid

New Member
Russian
Hi everyone,

Which one is more correct?

for example :
"They told us we have to live by certain rules, rules that they themselves cannot abide" or ".... , rules by which they themselves aren't able to abide"

Thanks!
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There are two quite different senses of abide at work here.

    You can abide by the rules = obey them.

    I can't abide him or I can't abide it = I hate him or it. In this sense of abide, the sentence is always or nearly always negative.
     

    Ovid

    New Member
    Russian
    So...you're saying that 'abide' without the 'by' is basically a synonym for 'can't stand/hate' ?

    And are both sentences I wrote in the example are wrong?
    tell me if I'm right:
    In the first one, with cannot, the sentence means "... , rules that they hate/can't stand themselves" , whereas the meaning in the second sentence is '... , rules they themselves aren't able to obey'

    Thanks.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Both your original sentences are correct. The first one means "...rules which they themselves hate." The second, with by, means "rules that they themselves cannot obey".
     
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