Do you dislike her? Do you not find her congenial?

siares

Senior Member
Slovak
Dear all,
I've used 'do you dislike her' and was told that a native speaker wouldn't say that. How would you express this in this context:
Being lost we saw a woman chatting with another, she didn't seem to be in a hurry unlike others in the street, so I suggested we ask her for directions. One of our party rolled his eyes so I asked him; Do you dislike her? meaning:
Why are you reluctant to ask her for directions, is it because she is not sympathic to you? (I know the word doesn't exist)
Dictionary search, could I say:
Do you not find her congenial?
Thank you.
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Do you dislike her?" is fine grammatically, but logically impossible for a person whom you have never met or spoken to and are seeing for the first time at a distance.:)

    Likewise, it's impossible for a person to be sympathetic or for you to know whether such a condition exists under those same circumstances.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I suggest 'What've you got against her?' or ' ... got against asking her'.
    I may have never used the word 'congenial' and certainly not in such an informal situation. It sounds very Jane Austen to me (although the Jane-ites might disagree), just to indicate how unusual it is these days.
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thanks Miss Julie, sdgraham and Hermione. I take the point about old fashinability of congeniality.
    I feel hopeful about the fact Miss Julie doesn't object to 'dislike her'.
    I suggest 'What've you got against her?' or ' ... got against asking her'.
    OK, but what would the person answer? If he's not supposed to say 'I just dislike her', let's ask someone else.
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    OK, thanks. Is plural looks = extending also beyond physical, and singular look = physical look?
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Not to "like somebody's looks" is an idiomatic expression meaning, depending upon the circumstances, threatening, dangerous, unpleasant, etc.

    It's not restricted to humans. We might say "I don't like the looks of that oncoming snowstorm" or "Let's not go fishing today, I don't like the looks of those waves."
     
    I would not get into "Do you dislike her?"

    IF one wanted details, 1) "Is the[re] something about her that puts you off?"

    Generally:
    2) "What's the problem with her?" As above, 2) "What have you got against her?" is good also.


    There are various answers: 1) Yes, her silly hat. 2) Her voice is so shrill. 3) Nothing, just that she has a face like a bulldog.
     
    Last edited:

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thanks that you explained, sdgraham, I didn't know that such expressions use the plural looks.

    Thanks bennymix.
     
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