But it won't forget

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Vronsky

Senior Member
Russian - Russia
Hi,
These lines are from the song "Heart-Shaped Glasses" by Marilyn Manson.

She said kiss me
It'll heal
But it won't forget

It looks like the verb forget here is an ergative one (as well as the verb heal). Like,
You won't forget it.
It won't forget.​
But I haven't seen examples of such usage in any dictionaries. Does this line "But it won't forget" make sense?
Thanks.
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Does this line "But it won't forget" make sense?
    Not in general, no. But here in this context it seems to mean that the singer is suffering from a painful memory, and the girl invites him to kiss her.
    This act of kissing will help to heal his metaphorical wound, it will temporarily make his pain disappear, but it won't make the painful memory itself go away.
    He must do the forgetting himself, the kiss won't do it for him.
     

    Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It looks like the verb forget here is an ergative one
    Forget is not an ergative verb it is unergative* - it is a transitive verb that can be used as an absolute, i.e. an object can always be implied. It is not possible to forget if you do not forget something. It is similar to "to eat"; "to read"; "to know."

    *also known as 'agentive'
     

    Vronsky

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    Forget is not an ergative verb it is unergative* - it is a transitive verb that can be used as an absolute, i.e. an object can always be implied. It is not possible to forget if you do not forget something. It is similar to "to eat"; "to read"; "to know."

    *also known as 'agentive'
    Thanks, Paul for the new information.
    But, actually, the verb read is ergative. From the Longman Dictionary:
    "if something reads well, badly etc, it has been written well, badly etc:
    I think in general the report reads well.
    "​
    Here, there is no implied object. I thought the verb forget could work in that way.
     
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