if what happened on the Hudson was a miracle at all

Doggie doggie

Senior Member
chinese
He has more than 40 years of flying experience and a record of 19,000 hours flying with commercial airlines. By the way , he is also a certified glider pilot. Well, this kind of resume makes one wonder if what happened on the Hudson was a miracle at all-he was trained for it, wasn't he?
Dear all, for my understanding, the part in blue is wrong logically. If I were the writer, I would say if what happened on the Hudson wasn't a miracle at all.
Am I right? Thanks.
 
  • Doggie doggie

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank, envie de voyager. Everyone calls it miracle, but the writer is trying to express doubt with if, he implies it is not a miracle, because the polite is well trained.That is why I think the sentence is wrong.
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hello.
    As a non-native English speaker, I cannot help thinking Doggie's logic is logical, which is denyed by native English speakers.

    Then, how about this one?
    Is it still wrong to natives' ear?

    Well, this kind of resume makes one wonder if what happened on the Hudson was a daily routine at all-he was trained for it, wasn't he?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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    envie de voyager

    Senior Member
    english-canadian
    The reason the question was asked as "was it a miracle at all?" is because the event was widely described as a miracle because no one was seriously hurt. After it became known that the pilot was probably the best trained person in the world to land that plane without power in the Hudson river, opinion changed. People began to think that it was not a miracle because the pilot was so skilled that he knew exactly what to do. Most people now think that it was just "the right guy, in the right place, at the right time."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I can see the confusion but I'm not sure I can express the difference between "It makes one wonder if it was a miracle at all" and "It makes one wonder if it wasn't a miracle at all." They produce two different moods or tones in the communication.

    The first statement means something like "It makes one wonder if any aspect of the event was a miracle" or "...if there is any reason to claim that it was a miracle." The second statement means something like "It makes one wonder if the outcome was unmiraculous/completely natural/predictable". The first is milder than the second and is less dismissive of the original assertion that it was a miracle.

    It has the same difference in tone as "I'm beginning to wonder if you ever loved me" and "I'm beginning to wonder if you never loved me".
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello.
    As a non-native English speaker, I cannot help thinking Doggie's logic is logical, which is denyed by native English speakers.

    Then, how about this one?
    Is it still wrong to natives' ear?

    Well, this kind of resume makes one wonder if what happened on the Hudson was a daily routine at all-he was trained for it, wasn't he?

    Thanks in advance.
    I’m afraid this suggestion, from post #5, doesn’t work:

    Well, this kind of resume makes one wonder if what happened on the Hudson was a daily routine at all-he was trained for it, wasn't he?

    but this does:

    Well, this kind of resume makes one wonder if what happened on the Hudson wasn’t a daily routine after all-he was trained for it, wasn't he?

    Let’s go back to the original sentence. The simplest way to explain it is to compare the structure with double negatives. As you know, two negatives make a positive: it didn’t not happen = it happened. The same sort of cancelling-out procedure happens with doubt: two doubts make a certainty.

    Here is the original quotation with the ‘doubts’ in red:

    this kind of resume makes one wonder if what happened on the Hudson was a miracle at all-he was trained for it, wasn't he?

    and if you rewrite it with the doubts changed to certainties you get:

    this kind of resume makes one (wonder if) realise that what happened on the Hudson was a (miracle at all) normal after all-he was trained for it, wasn't he?

    Does that help, I wonder?

    The events can be written chronologically which might make it ‘pictorially visible’:
    The people wondered
    was this a miracle?
    But then they found out
    the pilot was highly qualified and
    it was a normal event.

    Double, treble, quadruple negatives are always difficult to follow!
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you. I understand.
    My mistake was due to the miss-understanding of the usage of "wonder".
    I thought wrongly.
    Thanks again.
     
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    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi.

    If I replace "wonder" to "suspect", what the correct sentence would be?

    .....this kind of resume makes one susupect that what happened on the Hudson was not a miracle at all-he was trained for it, wasn't he?

    Am I correct?
    If I were correct this time, I could explain that the original question is due to the cofusion of "wonder" and "suspect".
     

    Doggie doggie

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Wishfull,I don't think suspect is the appropriate word here, because we always use suspect to describe something bad.

    For example, I suspect he is the murderer of that case.

    Maybe doubt is better?

    Doggie:)
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Oh, thank you, johndot.
    And thank you, doggie, too.

    I understand what you said is right, doggie, but my point was rather different.
    I think Language is difficult, as usual.
    Well, I mean;
    when we think something might be uncertain and think the probability is 50-50, or we might say "it might be so" or "it might not be so", we use the verb "wonder"
    When we think something is probably to be so, the probablility is around 90%, we use the different verbs such as "suspect."

    If I were a native English speaker, I could explain much better!

    edit; Thank you for "doubt". I will check it in my dictionary.
    In Japanese, the translation of "suspect", "duobt", "wonder" is the same word. So I got easily confused.
    ....I looked for OXFORD learner's thesaurus and found...suspect, disbelieve, distrust, doubt. I've got confused again.
     
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    Doggie doggie

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank Wishfull, For understanding English, we (non-native speakers) are awlawy learners. I will review all the posts about this topic later. Enjoy weekend.:)
     
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