Not to fret!

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Sadra

Member
Iran - Persian
What is the meaning of “not to fret” in

everything is shiny, captain. Not to fret.

is it imperative?
 
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    WordReference.com lists several definitions for the verb fret:
    7 be agitated or irritated; "don't fret over these small details"
    10 worry unnecessarily or excessively; "don't fuss too much over the grandchildren--they are quite big now"
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/fret

    "Not to fret" can be read, then, as "Don't worry." I guess that would qualify as an imperative statement, though I'm sure the meaning itself is equivalent, especially coming from a subordinate, as "there's nothing to worry about" or "you shouldn't worry."

    (Is this science fiction? I'm curious because of the peculiar, to me, use of "shiny.")
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    What is the meaning of “not to fret” in

    everything is shiny, captain. Not to fret.

    is it imperative?
    The others have told you what it means. It's certainly an imperative, of a kind you often meet in speech with the verb worry - not to worry. I suppose fret is close enough to worry to borrow its particular imperative form.

    Off hand I can't think of other verbs which can have this form of imperative. I remember being rather shocked by it when I first came across it as a child of eight, and thinking it was loose speech.

    Of course the formal imperative would be Don't fret or Don't worry.

    Other European languages use the infinitive as an imperative as one often sees on road signs - in France and Italy, for instance.
     

    Sadra

    Member
    Iran - Persian
    bibliolept & PMS-CC , sorry for my delay,
    It’s from a movie: "Serenity", and it’s a science fiction film
    thanks you all
     

    Sadra

    Member
    Iran - Persian
    Off hand I can't think of other verbs which can have this form of imperative. I remember being rather shocked by it when I first came across it as a child of eight, and thinking it was loose speech.

    Of course the formal imperative would be Don't fret or Don't worry.

    Other European languages use the infinitive as an imperative as one often sees on road signs - in France and Italy, for instance.
    Do you mean that this special imperative form is only for the verb "fret"?! and we can not use it for other verbs?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Do you mean that this special imperative form is only for the verb "fret"?! and we can not use it for other verbs?
    I said I couldn't think of any other verbs that took that form of imperative. That doesn't mean there aren't any. I suppose that people are often telling others not to worry, so it's not surprising it's developed a form of its own.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It would be quite a brave person who used that antiquated type of imperative with any verb, TST.
    A very popular British comedian and actor used to use the catchphrase Titter ye not! ~ purely for comic effect:)

    :idea: President John F Kennedy used it to some effect in his inaugural speech in 1961 (Ask not what your country can do for you ...) ~ but that was a speech and meant to sound grand*.

    * As a measure of its success, the phrase has been much parodied, by Orson Welles, amongst others:
    Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch.
     
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