I didn't see it coming

  • moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Elisa

    Ho il vantaggio di sapere a cosa ti riferisci;) La differenza è che I didn't see it coming riguarda sempre qualcosa di negativo (o almeno penso) mentre non l'avrei mai immaginato può anche riguardare una buona notizia.
    A question for native speakers: can I didn't see it coming only refer to something that affects you personally? If your neighbours split up can you still say I didn't see it coming?
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    moodywop said:
    If your neighbours split up can you still say I didn't see it coming?
    Absolutely yes, and I also believe there's no reason it can't refer to a positive. EXAMPLE: My boss gave me huge praise in the meeting, and we had been arguing before so I surely didn't see that coming!
     

    DAH

    Senior Member
    USA/California--English
    moodywop said:
    La differenza è che I didn't see it coming riguarda sempre qualcosa di negativo (o almeno penso) mentre non l'avrei mai immaginato può anche riguardare una buona notizia.
    A question for native speakers: can I didn't see it coming only refer to something that affects you personally? If your neighbours split up can you still say I didn't see it coming?
    Most of the time, the phrase speaks to a negative situation, however, there are times when it is used to the contrary, i.e., to express a pleasant surprise.
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Thank you Lsp, Dah and Moogey for clarifying in which contexts this phrase can be used.

    The reason I thought it might refer mainly to negative events is that it sounds like the kind of thing you would say after a car hit you (or what a dizzy goalkeeper might say:) ).

    My trusted Longman dictionary turned out to be misleading this time:eek: :

    see something coming to realize that there is going to be a problem before it actually happens:
    John's going to have a lot of trouble with him. You can see it coming.

    What about he should have seen it coming, though? I would imagine this would mostly refer to something unpleasant, wouldn't it?

    This phrase reminds me of a similar one which I remember hearing quite often in England (it's not listed in the dictionary, though): he had it coming (to him). Again, wouldn't this always refer to something negative? With the added implication that the guy got what he deserved?
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    moodywop said:
    he had it coming (to him). Again, wouldn't this always refer to something negative? With the added implication that the guy got what he deserved?
    I think it's almost always used in the negative, but not prohibited (nor destined to be misunderstood) in the positive.
     

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Forse con una frase intera ed un co-testo è più facile:

    My current situation, in literary terms, would thus be an example of peripeteia. Family one moment, no family the next. I didn't see it coming, nobody else saw it coming, but when I sit down and really think about it, it was inevitable. My parents divorced because they were too far apart all the time;
    dur.ac.uk

    In questo caso, per esempio, "non me l'aspettavo" potrebbe andare, credo. O magari anche "non me ne sono accorto"????
     
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