I would thou wert

  • TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    No. That makes no sense.

    I think it would be helpful if you could tell us, using other words, exactly what it is you are trying to say. What do you want 'I want a car to drive' to mean?
    The fact of the matter is I have already been trying to use other words:D

    I want a car to drive

    is like

    I wish a car drove

    Can it be so or you use different construction for this sense?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I suggest you try to explain what you mean by 'want so a car to drive' which makes no sense in English. Please give us a context in which you would express whatever idea it is. Tell us a story about the situation in which you would use such an utterance. I hadn't seen heypresto's when I wrote this but maybe it will sink in eventually if you read the same advice over and over!
    All you are doing is repeatedly telling us what it means using another bungled attempt!
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I want a car to drive

    is like

    I wish a car drove

    Can it be so or you use different construction for this sense?
    No.

    Let me offer two guesses as to what you might be trying to say with 'I want a car to drive'.

    I would like a car that works/drives/goes well.

    I would like a car to drive, not a van, motorcycle or lorry.


    Does either of these say what you have in mind?
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ... Can we say it through "so that"

    I want so that a car would drive ...
    No, you're using the wrong verb.
    • To drive = to sit in the seat and operate it. I want a car to drive = I want a car so that I can sit in the seat and operate it.
    • To run (of machinery) = to perform correctly. I want a car to run (well) = I want a car which performs correctly.
    [Cross-posted - This is a synonym of what HeyPresto just said.]
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Or, in other words, since you prefer, dear TroubleEnglish, to put somewhat theoretical questions:
    The meaning of the verb in the pattern (to want + a car + infinitive of a verb) determines the type of syntax being used. In one case (I want a car to run well) , it is an adjectival complement of the noun, in the other (I want a car to drive well, or I need such a car so that I drive proficiently ), it is a subordinate clause of purpose, where the main clause is 'I want a car.'
     
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    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I suggest you try to explain what you mean by 'want so a car to drive' which makes no sense in English. Please give us a context in which you would express whatever idea it is. Tell us a story about the situation in which you would use such an utterance. I hadn't seen heypresto's when I wrote this but maybe it will sink in eventually if you read the same advice over and over!
    All you are doing is repeatedly telling us what it means using another bungled attempt!
    No.

    Let me offer two guesses as to what you might be trying to say with 'I want a car to drive'.

    I would like a car that works/drives/goes well.

    I would like a car to drive, not a van, motorcycle or lorry.

    Does either of these say what you have in mind?
    Okay, I will try write a small story to reveal the sense I mean here

    I want the car to run

    There was a powerful storm recently and Joe's car was destroyed. Now it is not running - it doesn't have any wheels, doors, there is nothing left even of the engine by the nature's force. Joe got really sad and lost any interest of life because it was his biggest hobby ever - his car, world adventures, travellings and so on. He is coming to the auto-service and pleading: Please, do whatever you can, I will give any money... The only thing I want is the car - I want the car to run. Can you raise it from the dead?

    I want the car to run

    It's a huge competition of the world level. We have a lot of professional runners all over the Earth Planet. their skills are equal to their wish of the award for the victory of this competition. One of the guys said:
    I will run only if I will get my own plane. I am the best runner and I must have the best award!
    The other one said:
    I want to have 1.000.000.000.000$ and in this case - I will run for you and win this tournnament.

    When the third one was asked what he wanted to take part in this event, he said:

    I want the car to run ponting at the car around him he had always wanted to own.

    The question was repeated:

    What do you want?

    -The car

    -With what aim do you want to have it?

    -To run

    -Say it completely, the future Champion!

    -I want the car to run
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Sorry. And what?
    The first example means 'I want this car to run well'. The explanation has been given.
    The second means 'I want such a car that it could win in the competition'. A special case of usage of the definite article.
     
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    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There was a powerful storm recently and Joe's car was destroyed. Now it is not running - it doesn't have any wheels, doors, there is nothing left even of the engine by the nature's force. Joe got really sad and lost any interest of life because it was his biggest hobby ever - his car, world adventures, travellings and so on. He is coming to the auto-service and pleading: Please, do whatever you can, I will give any money... The only thing I want is the car - I want the car to run. Can you raise it from the dead?
    This is OK, but more natural and more likely, would be something like 'I want the car to work', or 'I want the car fixed'.

    It's a huge competition of the world level. We have a lot of professional runners all over the Earth Planet. their skills are equal to their wish of the award for the victory of this competition. One of the guys said:
    I will run only if I will get my own plane. I am the best runner and I must have the best award!
    The other one said:
    I want to have 1.000.000.000.000$ and in this case - I will run for you and win this tournnament.

    When the third one was asked what he wanted to take part in this event, he said:

    I want the car to run ponting at the car around him he had always wanted to own.
    That almost works. He'd be more likely to say 'I want that car to run'. But even then, it's not very natural. But it's a rather contrived context. Without you having told us this story, we would never have guessed that that is what it meant.

    Even more likely, and far more natural, would be simply 'I want that car'.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    This is OK, but more natural and more likely, would be something like 'I want the car to work', or 'I want the car fixed'.


    That almost works. He'd be more likely to say 'I want that car to run'. But even then, it's not very natural. But it's a rather contrived context. Without you having told us this story, we would never have guessed that that is what it meant.

    Even more likely, and far more natural, would be simply 'I want that car'.
    So, both of my examples are correct in the sense I gave, it just always needs context?
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    All sentences need context. That's why we always ask for it.

    You can see how much difficulty we had in understanding what 'I want the car to drive' meant. We guessed at several possible meanings, but we would never in a million years have thought of the 'runner saying what he'd like as a payment for taking part in a race' meaning you had in mind.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Does any of you understand this sentence?

    I would thou wert so happy by thy stay

    I took it from Romeo and Juliet.

    I would want ...

    I would hate ...

    I would think ...

    Or what?

    And what is the difference between

    Thou wast
    Thou wert


    I also read there was a possibility to say:

    Thou were

    Is it true or no?
    My guess (based on affinity with Norwegian) is that it means I would like that you enjoy (were happy [with]) your staying here and hearing a true confession.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I would thou wert so happy by thy stay
    To hear true shrift.

    This means, in the context: It will be good if by staying here you get to hear the truth / to find out what happened.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    All sentences need context. That's why we always ask for it.

    You can see how much difficulty we had in understanding what 'I want the car to drive' meant. We guessed at several possible meanings, but we would never in a million years have thought of the 'runner saying what he'd like as a payment for taking part in a race' meaning you had in mind.
    I wonder if English learners could post their TOEIC score or CEFR level when asking a question about Shakespearien English? This is not the first time we have been led a merry dance about x,y, z, when the OP in fact is asking something very basic. The answer to the OP is #36 and a smattering of #34.
    European language levels - Self Assessment Grid | Europass

    Many of us have tried to seriously answer the question about « would thou wert » when in fact the OP hasn’t really understood this is not a question about modern English grammar.
     
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    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I am feeling completely unhappy. 96% rules in English are explained with "because it's so". I don't know who is guilty: either I being Russian and having grammar which has very meticulous explanation for 96% of the language or I not being American and thinking that English grammar has logic because of not knowing of existince of other languages like Russian grammar... I've started saying recently: "If you are happy and have no problem - start learning English, it's the perfect way to improve your depression."I am a perfectionist and I want to see the precise explanation to everything... Thinking about how to find some solutions of English grammar problems you start thinking of the permanent solution of a temporal problem.
    No language follows rational rules. All languages are equally odd but seem normal to their native speakers. A native English speaker learning Russian may ask why it has no verb "to be" in the present tense and no articles - the answer is: "Because it is so."

    Your "problem" is that you are a native speaker of a synthetic language and that more analytic languages like English can seem difficult to get hold of. It is all comparative as native speakers of English can find even more analytic languages like Thai or Chinese frustratingly imprecise when learning them.

    Whatever the language the question to ask is not "Why is it so?" but "What can and must you do?"
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I would you were here = I wished you were here, if "would" is the past form of something or i dunno what...
    I wished you were... is the same grammatical form in Late Modern English as I would thou wert..., in Early Modern English, yes. Both verbs are in past subjunctive in both versions.

    In Early Modern English, the past subjunctive had still a wider range of applications than today. Today past subjunctive is essentially restricted to express a hypothetical condition. In Early Modern English is could still express some other cases of the modus irrealis, like in other Germanic languages. Compare German
    Ich wollte du wärst... (= I would thou wert...)
    Ich wünschte du wärst... (= I wished thou wert...)

    Both versions are possible.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Surely I would thou wert was the equivalent of I wish you were?

    1600 Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 2 iii. ii. 163: I would thou wert a mans tailer, that thou mightst mend him.

    And from Timon of Athens: Timon: Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Surely I would thou wert was the equivalent of I wish you were?
    Would is past subjunctive, wish is present indicative. What has changed is that past subjunctive is not used in that context any more. In the attestations you quoted past subjunctive is correct in Early Modern English.

    So, I wished you were.. is the formal equivalent and I wish you were... is the practical equivalent.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    For me, "I would thou wert" sounds odd fashioned but still perfectly understandable. But the rest of the sentence is hard to decipher.

    On reading the sentence in question I imagined that happy meant "happy", but after reading Ben Jamin's post I can see the sentence has to mean what his source says it means. "Happy" in other words, did not originally have to do with mirth but with haphazardness and happenstance.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    On reading the sentence in question I imagined that happy meant "happy", but after reading Ben Jamin's post I can see the sentence has to mean what his source says it means. "Happy" in other words, did not originally have to do with mirth but with haphazardness and happenstance.
    Or more simply put: This was before the separation of of the semantic concepts happy and lucky.
    In Elizabethan times, happy meant both happy and lucky and lucky meant bringing luck.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Or more simply put: This was before the separation of of the semantic concepts happy and lucky.
    In Elizabethan times, happy meant both happy and lucky and lucky meant bringing luck.
    That makes sense, but I was talking about which meaning probably came first historically ("lucky"). I find it easier to imagine happiness coming from luck than luck coming from happiness., and none of the other "hap" words (without -py or -pi-) I can think of has anything to do with being mirthful.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    That makes sense, but I was talking about which meaning probably came first ("lucky").
    I see. And I agree. It is actually not infrequent in European languages that the word describing the notion of happiness is derived from the concept of good fortune. The Dutch and German equivalents of lucky derived from the same cognate root (gelukkig and glücklich) actually hold both meanings even today.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    What I call "conditional", a term I learned studying Spanish and French, is, as far as I can tell, the same thing as older past subjunctive in a main clause. It is often, but not always, accompanied by an "if" clause in past subjunctive.

    Part of the ambiguity I mentioned is that past subjunctive and past indicative look alike for most verbs, so that we have to use various devices to make "conditional" and the subordinated past subjunctive more obvious. For example, dropping "if" and moving "should", "were", or "had" forward to replace the "if" is a sure sign that past subjunctive is meant.

    But in a main clause, the most we can do if we want to "translate" to "modern" is to use the ambiguous "would"/"should"/"might"/etc. and hope the rest of the context helps. Unfortunately, we can't say "would will" or "should will" because modal "will" lacks an infinitive. So we have to look for another verb, like "hope".

    Unfortunately, "hope" no longer allows a "that" clause in subjunctive and we have to add another ambiguous past tense modal.

    So "I would you were" = "I would hope you would/might be" / "I should hope you would/might be", approximately. Somehow, we just tolerate the ambiguity.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    No language follows rational rules?"
    It is simply not true. Actually the foundations of any language are fully rational and have a purpose. Otherwise we could never communicate anything except emotional outbursts. However, the foundations are often not clearly visible, because languages have also a random component that blurs the original rationality. I can recommend you a book written by Guy Deutcher "The unfolding of language"
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It is simply not true. Actually the foundations of any language are fully rational and have a purpose. Otherwise we could never communicate anything except emotional outbursts. However, the foundations are often not clearly visible, because languages have also a random component that blurs the original rationality. I can recommend you a book written by Guy Deutcher "The unfolding of language"
    Unless adopting a position of extreme scepticism, we can accept that human experience is that things do things and things have things done to them. All languages reflect that and can distinguish between "the dog chases the cat " and "the cat chases the dog". It is also possible in every language to communicate whether what you are talking about took place in the past, is taking place while you speak or is expected to take place in the future. My point is that whether or not there is such a thing as a universal grammar or humans are born with a language instinct, at the level where language operates it consists of arbitary conventions which cannot be analysed rationally or logically.

    Take articles. Many languages function perfectly well without them. Those that have them do not use them in exactly identical ways. Compare:

    English: There are dogs in the garden.
    Spanish: Hay perros en el jardín.
    French: Il y a des chiens dans le jardin.

    English and Spanish agree that when you are talking about dogs (but not all dogs) you have not referred to before that no article is needed. French requires an indefinite article.

    English: Dogs are dangerous.
    Spanish: Los perros son peligrosos.
    French: Les chiens sont dans le jardin.

    When talking about dogs generally English does not require any article. Spanish and French agree that a definite article is needed.

    English: The dogs in the garden are dangerous.
    Spanish: Los perros en el jardín son peligrosos.
    French: Les chiens dans le jardin sont dangéreux.

    All three languages agree that when referring to certain specified dogs the definite article is needed.

    None of the above can be explained by rational analysis. In the first instance you cannot argue that, say, French is more logical because it takes the trouble to insert a word that makes it clear that not all dogs are being talked about. It is simply the case that French requires the "des" - if you ask why the answer is: "Because it is so."
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    at the level where language operates it consists of arbitary conventions which cannot be analysed rationally or logically.
    You make this sound as if they were contradictions. Communication systems always are conventions and as such always arbitrary. The inner logic of such a convention is its rationality.
    None of the above can be explained by rational analysis.
    All three are logical within the framework of there definitions. Definitions cannot be right or wrong they can only be more or less useful. And all three are useful.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    ... French: Il y a des chiens dans le jardin.

    English and Spanish agree that when you are talking about dogs (but not all dogs) you have not referred to before that no article is needed. French requires an indefinite article.
    All three languages apparently need an audible indication of plurality for "dogs but not all dogs"
    French: Les chiens sont dans le jardin.
    All three of these languages require a verb here. :D
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Unless adopting a position of extreme scepticism, we can accept that human experience is that things do things and things have things done to them. All languages reflect that and can distinguish between "the dog chases the cat " and "the cat chases the dog". It is also possible in every language to communicate whether what you are talking about took place in the past, is taking place while you speak or is expected to take place in the future. My point is that whether or not there is such a thing as a universal grammar or humans are born with a language instinct, at the level where language operates it consists of arbitary conventions which cannot be analysed rationally or logically.

    Take articles. Many languages function perfectly well without them. Those that have them do not use them in exactly identical ways. Compare:

    English: There are dogs in the garden.
    Spanish: Hay perros en el jardín.
    French: Il y a des chiens dans le jardin.

    English and Spanish agree that when you are talking about dogs (but not all dogs) you have not referred to before that no article is needed. French requires an indefinite article.

    English: Dogs are dangerous.
    Spanish: Los perros son peligrosos.
    French: Les chiens sont dans le jardin.

    When talking about dogs generally English does not require any article. Spanish and French agree that a definite article is needed.

    English: The dogs in the garden are dangerous.
    Spanish: Los perros en el jardín son peligrosos.
    French: Les chiens dans le jardin sont dangéreux.

    All three languages agree that when referring to certain specified dogs the definite article is needed.

    None of the above can be explained by rational analysis. In the first instance you cannot argue that, say, French is more logical because it takes the trouble to insert a word that makes it clear that not all dogs are being talked about. It is simply the case that French requires the "des" - if you ask why the answer is: "Because it is so."
    There are not many arbitrary conventions in most known languages. There are conventions that arose through spontaneous eliminating of a large number f grammatically possible word orders and lexical choices ". Well, there are certain arbitrary conventions coined by people who had the power of doing so, for example the ban on double negation in English. Most of grammatical forms can be, however, explained on the basis of the history of the language, so the claim that 92% of English language structure and lexis are inexplicable simply is not true.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There are not many arbitrary conventions in most known languages. There are conventions that arose through spontaneous eliminating of a large number f grammatically possible word orders and lexical choices ". Well, there are certain arbitrary conventions coined by people who had the power of doing so, for example the ban on double negation in English. Most of grammatical forms can be, however, explained on the basis of the history of the language, so the claim that 92% of English language structure and lexis are inexplicable simply is not true.
    I am not saying that languages do not have rules - of course they do. It is also the case that if you ask a question of the type: Why does French do this when Spansh does not? you may be able to provide a historical explanation. And natural languages may have features which have been consciously grafted onto them.

    What I am getting at is that for any language when you look at it as it is at any given time the meanings assigned to the sounds/marks on paper and the way the sounds/marks on paper are required to be organised are arbitrary. We cannot say, for example, that the way Chinese does things is more logical or rational than the way Quechua does things. All you can do is say that Chinese does things this way and Quechua does them that way. You have to home in on what you can and must do. You cannot take Chinese as a benchmark to describe Quechua.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I am not saying that languages do not have rules - of course they do. It is also the case that if you ask a question of the type: Why does French do this when Spansh does not? you may be able to provide a historical explanation. And natural languages may have features which have been consciously grafted onto them.

    What I am getting at is that for any language when you look at it as it is at any given time the meanings assigned to the sounds/marks on paper and the way the sounds/marks on paper are required to be organised are arbitrary. We cannot say, for example, that the way Chinese does things is more logical or rational than the way Quechua does things. All you can do is say that Chinese does things this way and Quechua does them that way. You have to home in on what you can and must do. You cannot take Chinese as a benchmark to describe Quechua.
    I agree with your explanation. But it is important to remember that "arbitrary" is not the same as "illogical".
     
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