believe

Discussion in 'English Only' started by azz, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. azz Senior Member

    armenian
    You won't believe John any more.

    Can one use this sentence to mean that you won't believe what John has become (how and how much he has changed)?

    I know that one meaning of the sentence is that you won't believe what he says; but can't it mean you won't believe what he is or has become, as in: "I can't believe this guy."
     
  2. Artrella Banned

    BA
    Spanish-Argentina


    Hi :) !!

    This sounds odd to me. Well at least it's the first time I see it. I would say "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw John. He has changed a lot!"

    or "You won't recognize John any more. He has changed a lot!"


    I don't know of a use of "believe" in the sense you are describing above.
    :)
     
  3. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    Yes, very colloquial, and for some reason sounds better with the conditional, You wouldn't believe John anymore. As always the context makes or breaks it.
     
  4. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English

    Well, maaaybe. :) But don't you think most people would say, ''You wouldn't recognize John now.'' ?
     
  5. Artrella Banned

    BA
    Spanish-Argentina


    OH OH!!! :eek: First time for me!!! Great!!! So this is used in everyday speech??? New word for me, well... new meaning!!! :thumbsup: :p :thumbsup:
     
  6. Artrella Banned

    BA
    Spanish-Argentina

    OH, OH!!! So is it or is it not used???? :rolleyes: ;)
     
  7. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    If John's radical change was philosophical, rather than physical, I'd say "believe."
     
  8. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    A biology professor once told me that the behavior of an individual in a species tells you little about what is normal behavior for that species. Particularly when it comes to humans. For anything you can imagine, you can probably find a human that has done it.

    I think the same goes for the English language. It is probably wisest to never say that something is never said. I would just say that the sentence in question is a marginal way to express what azz wants to express.
     
  9. Edher

    Edher Senior Member

    USA
    Cd. de México, Spanish & English
     
  10. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    So this sounds marginal... Prior to a 25th high school reunion, Leslie and Linda are talking about old friends they hope to see there, and checking to see who the other has kept in touch with over the years. Leslie is still in touch with John, who was close to both of the women when they were students, but only because his kids go to the same piano teacher as her daughter. They were once very active in the Young Republicans, but John has done a complete about-face and is a very active and liberal-minded democrat now. She says to Linda, "You wouldn't believe John anymore. Wait until you hear him talk about the election."

    I wouldn't think twice if I heard that or read that. You would?
     
  11. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English

    No, LSP! I wouldn't blink or think twice! (But I would be happy that John had finally wised up! :) )

    Now, I wonder if anyone can think of a sentence for which you cannot dream up a senario making it perfectly natural acceptable English. :)

    PS. I just noticed that you left out the anymore in the original sentence. That helps your dialog a little, I think.
     
  12. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    The happy ending appealed to me, too!

    I can't do all the hard work!

    I think it works just the same, I even edited the post.
     
  13. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    Okay, I'll say ''uncle''.
     
  14. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    Well, maybe because this has a different meaning. :)

    "You won't recognize John anymore." implies that great physical changes have come over John. For example: he got taller, he died his hair, he cut his hair, he wears different clothes, he lost weight, he gained weight, he grew his hair out, he wears glasses, etc. It does not have anything to do with what he has become (job, etc) unless his new job prompted a new wardrobe.

    "You won't believe what John has become." implies that John got a new job. Either he is very well off or he is a hopeless, unemployed bum who smokes pot in his basement. It talks about his potential for success. Or maybe it talks about his family (or lack of one). Maybe everyone expected him to get married when he was 19 and have sixteen children, but in reality John discovered he was gay. It could also be talking about John's moral values -- maybe he took up smoking and drinking.


    In conclusion, yes. It tells you that changes have come over John (job, life in general, etc.). Remember that it does not mean the same thing as "You won't recognize John anymore." (tells you John looks different).
     
  15. Artrella Banned

    BA
    Spanish-Argentina



    Edwin!! I like that :thumbsup: !!! Thank you!!! :p
     
  16. Artrella Banned

    BA
    Spanish-Argentina


    I agree with you Nick, but you have changed the sentence. You added "what John has become" :arrow: I like this sentence, but the original one still seems odd to me! :p
     
  17. modgirl Senior Member

    USA English, French, Russian
    I agree. Here are some examples:

    E.g. Jane is talking to someone who hasn't seen her one-year-old baby in several months. Jane says, "Oh, you won't believe little Billy. He is so big and went from crawling straight to running!" (in other words, he has grown so much in such a short time that's it's hard to conceive)

    E.g. "Jane always complains about how unnatural women look when they color their hair. And today, she shows up at work as a blonde (and she's a brunette). Do you believe it?"

    Often when we say, "do you believe," we mean, "Do you believe the nerve that person has?"
     
  18. elroy

    elroy Imperfect Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I also agree. In fact, it's such a common usage that I'm surprised such a lengthy discussion/debate about it ensued! ;) :D
     

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