how I hope you can be a little more outgoing

brian&me

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Hi, everyone.

I read this sentence in a test paper.

Tom, you are too quiet. How I hope you can be a little more outgoing!

In Chinese, people say so. I wonder if the sentences above are also spoken in English. I mean there’s a little logical problem. The fact is that Tom is quiet, not outgoing, but the speaker hopes that Tom will be a little more outgoing.

Many thanks.
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Think of it as a scale with Introverted on one end and Outgoing on the other. Everyone is somewhere on that scale, somewhere between those two ends. The speaker wishes that Tom could be more towards the Outgoing end.

    It would be a normal, logical concept in English.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If that sentence was in a test paper, whoever set the test didn't speak very good English. There's nothing much wrong with it grammatically, but the way it's expressed is rather unnatural.
     

    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you all.
    I don't think English people would say this. Better:
    Tom, you are too quiet. How I wish you could/would be a little more outgoing!
    I was taught that people use I wish you could/would ... to express a wish which can't or can't easily be realized. Is that true?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Both could and would may be used to express what amounts to a polite request.

    The speaker may wish that Tom 'could' = was able to be more outgoing, but it is more likely that he is politely asking Tom to make more of an effort.
    'Would' means that he wants Tom to be willing to be more outgoing.
     

    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thanks, Cagey.
    What about this sentence?
    I wish you would stop smoking, Jack.
    Does the speaker make a polite request or feel annoyed about Jack's smoking?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It could be either. Which it is depends on the tone of voice, as well as the relationship between the speaker and Jack.
     
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