believe

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."
 
  • Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    azz said:
    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."


    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.
    :)
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    azz said:
    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."
    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.
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    lsp said:
    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.

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

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    lsp said:
    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.


    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:
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    Edwin said:
    Well, maaaybe. :) But don't you think most people would say, ''You wouldn't recognize John now.'' ?
    If John's radical change was philosophical, rather than physical, I'd say "believe."
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Artrella said:
    OH, OH!!! So is it or is it not used???? :rolleyes: ;)
    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.
     

    Edher

    Senior Member
    USA
    Cd. de México, Spanish & English
    Edwin said:
    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.
    QUOTE]

    Very well said, I completly agree.
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    Edwin said:
    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.
    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?
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    lsp said:
    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. Wait until you hear him talk about the election."

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

    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.
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    Edwin said:
    No, LSP! I wouldn't blink or think twice! (But I would be happy that John had finally wised up! :) )
    The happy ending appealed to me, too!

    Now, I wonder if anyone can think of a sentence for which you cannot dream up a senario making it perfectly natural acceptable English. :)
    I can't do all the hard work!

    PS. I just noticed that you left out the anymore in the original sentence. That helps your dialog a little, I think.
    I think it works just the same, I even edited the post.
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Edwin said:
    Well, maaaybe. :) But don't you think most people would say, ''You wouldn't recognize John now.'' ?
    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.


    azz said:
    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)?
    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).
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Edwin said:
    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.



    Edwin!! I like that :thumbsup: !!! Thank you!!! :p
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Nick said:
    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).


    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
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    lsp said:
    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.
    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?"
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    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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