oblige: two meanings?

Takahero

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello.
I think that the meaning of "oblige" in 1 is different from 2.
Would you give me a paraphrase?

1. If anyone from the Conservative Party wants to ring us up and have a chat about it, we would be most obliged to talk to them.

2. He was obliged to resign.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Hello.
    I think that the meaning of "oblige" in 1 is different from 2.
    Would you give me a paraphrase?

    1. If anyone from the Conservative Party wants to ring us up and have a chat about it, we would be most obliged to talk to them.

    2. He was obliged to resign.
    Hi, I would say the second one is the most transparent and correct of the two. The other one is a bit "wrong" to me. It is based on a courtesy thing that people way after someone had done them a favour, instead of just saying THANKS they say "much obliged". I guess it relates to the idea that after a favour you might be obliged to pay it back later! I don't know though, that is just a guess!

    Here the writer is probably trying to be polite, but really would have been better off saying "We'd be happy to talk to them".

    There is a difference between "to oblige" and "be obliged" but these two don't illustrate it very well.
     

    Crockett

    Senior Member
    US English
    I'm glad suzi replied before me because I'm not a %100 on this one. I, however, believe both sentences to be correct. If you watch a lot of western movies, you hear people say "much obliged" instead of "thank you" (so I guess it's like saying, I'm grateful or I'm pleased). This useage, however, is very old and not used much anymore (at least in the U.S.). The second useage, "he was obliged to resign", could be rewritten as, "he was obligated to resign."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Hello.
    I think that the meaning of "oblige" in 1 is different from 2.
    Would you give me a paraphrase?

    1. If anyone from the Conservative Party wants to ring us up and have a chat about it, we would be most obliged to talk to them.

    2. He was obliged to resign.
    The examples are in the passive voice- to be obliged.

    Active voice:
    "My conviction for theft obliges me to resign." = compels
    "Is there anything I can do to oblige?" = to help

    Passive Voice:
    "I am obliged by your help = I am placed in a debt of gratitude, I owe you a debt of gratitude
    "I am obliged by my conviction to resign." = (feel) compelled.

    1. If anyone from the Conservative Party wants to ring us up and have a chat about it, we would be most obliged to talk to them.:cross: This is not a proper use of "obliged". You have used it to mean "happy"

    2. He was obliged to resign.:tick: = He felt compelled to resign.
     
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