did not go out to make you happy

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azz

Senior Member
armenian
a. I did not go out to make you happy.
b. I did not go out so that you would be happy.
c. I did not go out in order to make you happy.
d. I did not go out for you to be happy.


The sentences are mine.

Aren't all these sentences ambiguous.

First meaning
I did go out but my intention was not making you happy.

Second meaning
In order to make happy, I did not go out.

Would a comma after 'out' help?

Many thanks.
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The only ambiguity is why you went out. We know it was not to make someone else happy.

    I went out to keep busy; not to make you happy.

    I went out to make Joan jealous; not to make you happy.

    The above examples eliminate the ambiguity but we still don't know what you had in mind.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Theoretically, these sentences could mean "In order to make you happy, I did not go out," but this meaning is so unlikely that it would not occur to most people. Partly, this is because it is kind of an unlikely scenario. If you wanted to make that clear, you would be more likely to talk about what you did do rather than what you did not do.

    I stayed home to make you happy.
     

    Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, they are ambiguous. Yes, a comma would help after 'out'. Also, if you invert them the ambiguity disappears:

    a. I did not go out to make you happy. To make you happy, I did not go out.

    b. I did not go out so that you would be happy. So that you would be happy, I did not go out.

    c. I did not go out in order to make you happy. In order to make you happy, I did not go out.

    You can do the same with this one:

    d. I did not go out for you to be happy.
     

    jmichaelm

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In isolation, "go out" is not very clear. If you added context it might be easier to understand.

    Also, are you aware of the standard idiom, "set out" which means "intend"? "I did not set out to make you happy." is perfectly clear and means, "I did not intend to make you happy." Your first sentence is so similar to this idiom that you should either use the correct idiom or if you mean something different write it in a different way.
     
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