Abide (by)

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MJRupeJM

Senior Member
USA
English- U.S.
I am an AE speaker but have always been confused by the usage of "abide." The WR dictionary lists "cannot abide" as informal.

I want to say: That is one fiction I cannot abide.

I am to understand this is grammatically incorrect? What is the correct phrasing? I basically want to say: that is one lie that I cannot let pass.

I cannot abide by this fiction.
This is one fiction I cannot abide by.
By this fiction I cannot abide.

That is a fiction by which I cannot abide.

My feeling is that version #1 or #4 above is best. Could someone help me with this verb! Thanks in advance.
 
  • Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Abide" and "abide by" mean different things. "Abide" most often occurs with the preposition "by" to mean "follow, obey", but in a less frequent transitive usage it generally means "tolerate, bear, stand". So if you mean "tolerate this fiction", then "abide" is used in its transitive meaning here. "Abide by" would also be possible, in my opinion, if you mean "go along with", but I don't think it's the best word for that meaning. But I still think it could be possible.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I am an AE speaker but have always been confused by the usage of "abide." The WR dictionary lists "cannot abide" as informal.

    I want to say: That is one fiction I cannot abide. :tick:

    I am to understand this is grammatically incorrect? What is the correct phrasing? I basically want to say: that is one lie that I cannot let pass.

    I cannot abide by this fiction. :cross:
    This is one fiction I cannot abide by. :cross:
    By this fiction I cannot abide. :cross:

    That is a fiction by which I cannot abide. :cross:

    My feeling is that version #1 or #4 above is best.
    "Informal"? The word is neither "formal" nor "informal" and simply means "tolerate" or "stand for". Your initial sentence, as indicated by the check mark, is fine. The other four use "abide by" which means something entirely different, to follow or obey: You must abide by the forum rules in posting messages. Without the "by," the first two of the four would be okay; so would the fourth, if you dropped the "which".
     

    Annakrutitskaya

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hello!

    Searching for the right thread to post my question on 'abide' issue, I saw this discussion.

    I understand the difference in the meaning between 'to abide' and 'abide by' (Off-topic: I hope I have correctly used 'between' here). But I can't figure out why 'by' is added to alter the meaning of the original verb and give it the meaning of 'comply with rules, regulations, etc or 'obey rules, regulations, etc'.

    I can't combine the meaning of 'abide' and 'by' to find the underlying logic (I've recently figured out that it is a lot easier to memorize words if you 'feel' them, understand their underlying sense or images they depict).

    I would be grateful for explanation.

    Thank you!
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think you can hope to find a wholly logical explanation, but one of the very many meanings of "by" is (from the OED)
    According to, in accordance with, in conformity or harmony with a command, law, rule, will, or any standard of action. So in phrases by book, by course (= in turn), by heart, by rote, by row (= in order).
    so if you abide by something your actions remain in accordance with it.
     
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