John put his heart into getting a black belt in Judo.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Mustermisstler, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. Mustermisstler

    Mustermisstler Senior Member

    England
    Spanish.Spain
    Hello everyone,

    I wonder about the meaning of the following sentence. Am I correct?

    John put his heart into getting a black belt in Judo.
    John put a lot of effort to get a black belt in Judo.

    Thanks

    <-----Question has been given its own thread.----->
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2015
  2. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    Sometimes you hear "his heart and soul...". It means he was very dedicated and worked very hard at it. It might even be the single most important task in his life.
     
  3. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    I think "John had his heart set on getting . . . " is the more common expression.
     
  4. skandinavien Member

    American English
    Your second sentence is not correct. Also, judo should not capitalized.

    I'd go with either

    John put a lot of effort into getting a black belt in judo.

    or

    John put in a lot of effort to get a black belt in judo.
     
  5. AmaryllisBunny

    AmaryllisBunny Senior Member

    However, this doesn't mean he got the black belt which seems (?) to be what OP is stating.

    John put in his heart and soul to get his black belt in Judo.

    My question then — did John get his black belt?
     
  6. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I agree. Wanting to get a black belt is not the same as getting one.


    Packard: I put my heart and soul into winning the county five mile run. I trained hard five days per week for six months.

    Julie: Did you win?

    Packard: No.

    Julie: Why not?

    Packard: I wasn't fast enough.
     
  7. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    In that example, I would say you put your heart and soul into training for the run, not into winning it.
    Here I would say either 'Set his heart on getting a black belt' (i.e. made it his dearest ambition to win a black belt) or 'Put his heart and soul into trying for a black belt' (i.e. devoted himself totally to the attempt).
     
  8. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I don't think you can distinguish the training from the goal. They are united. To have a goal without the training is not a goal at all, it is a "wish".

    In which case you would have to phrase it, "I really wished to have a black belt."
     
  9. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    I do not see how you can identify the training with the goal. They are as different as the journey and the destination: or more so.

    'Putting one's heart and soul into something' expresses the intensity of action, not of desire.
    Thus it applies to the training, not the goal.

    'Setting one's heart on something' expresses the intensity of desire, not of action.
    Thus it applies to the goal, not the training.
     
  10. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I put my "heart and soul" into becoming a black belt but I don't want to practice and train? Is that your suggestion? That you can put your heart and soul into a project without doing the work involved? I don't see it.
     
  11. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    I do not see where you get that.
     
  12. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    To me the training is the intensity and action just as much as achieving the black belt.

    I don't see the parallel of journey and destination. Training is preparation, not journeying. Training is preparation, the black belt is the intended result.

    It is more like a causal relationship.
     
  13. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    We need to keep in mind the difference between the two phrases, (a) 'set one's heart on' and (b) 'put one's heart and soul into'.

    Phrase (a) means concentrating one's desires on [a particular aim or target].
    Thus it makes sense to say 'He set his heart on graduating with top honours'.

    Phrase (b) means applying one's total effort and commitment to [an action or course of action].
    Thus it makes sense to say 'He put his heart and soul into his studies'.

    In this case, the studies can be compared with the journey and the top honours with the destination: the one is the course that leads to the other.
     
  14. AmaryllisBunny

    AmaryllisBunny Senior Member

    I wanted to specify that:

    John put in his heart and soul to get his black belt in Judo. - to get implies he received it.
    E.g.: I put in my heart and soul to graduate with honors.

    John put his heart and soul into getting a black belt in Judo. - because getting is continuous, it isn't clear whether he is still at it or not (whether it was achieved).
    E.g.: I put my heart and soul into graduating with honors.

    John had his heart set on getting ... - he really wanted it but doesn't imply whether or not he has gotten it.
    E.g.: I had my heart set on getting into Harvard. - it seems to imply the contrary... (not getting in...).

    I feel that the use of his is preferable to a, because if you put your heart and soul into something, it is for something that is (in your mind) yours and not just a something.
     

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