Can a language "suit" somebody?

Lumpaumpa

New Member
russian
We can say: "this dress suits you", "that chair suits the room", but can we say sth like "French suits you"? Someone wanted to say that someone "looks" good speaking French, or that it "goes with" that person. As colleagues seem to argue whether it is correct or not, I would need an opinion from a native speaker. Thanks!
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    can we say sth like "French suits you"?
    You can say "<action> suits you". So you might say "Speaking French suits you".
    Other examples:

    1. (Wearing) that dress suits you.
    2. Being an assassin suits you.
    3. Selling balloon animals suits you. You interact well with children.
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    Thanks for catching my mistake. I corrected post 3.

    I have never spoken the phrase "Being an assassin suits you.", but I may have seen it in some novels.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Speaking French becomes you.
    Speaking French suits you.

    I find that "becomes" works better, but "suits" is OK.

    From Collins dictionary:

    1627653360821.png
     

    Lumpaumpa

    New Member
    russian
    but we don't have to say <action> suits you. We normally say "this t-shirt suits you", "this color suits you", even things that are not physical: "anger doesn't suit you" or any other emotion. Still don't get it, why we can't use it with a language. Is "French sounds good on you" correct?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    Still don't get it, why we can't use it with a language.
    There is no rule saying we can't use it. We can use it. But it has the same issues as any sentence:

    1. What meaning does this sentence express?
    2. Will listeners understand that meaning?

    The only purpose of the sentence is to convey a meaning to listeners. If they don't understand, the sentence fails.

    The word "suit" is not the problem. The meaning is the problem. The dictionary says "suits you" means "is appropriate for you". So we can use that wording instead of the verb "suits".

    What does it mean to say that (speaking) French is more appropriate for you than (speaking) German? More importantly, will listeners understand that meaning? I don't understand it.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Suit" in reference to language, sounds like it is easier to learn.

    For me, Latin was easier to learn. I appreciated the logical rules that were applied. Other languages (English especially) had more exceptions than seemed necessary.

    For others, perhaps knowing a romance language might make learning another romance language easier.

    One of our tool and die makers was fluent in Portuguese, Basque, Spanish, French, German, and Italian (and perhaps more that I was not aware of). For him, all languages seemed to suit him. (He did not speak a word of Russian or Chinese, however.)
     
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