Or So it Seems

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HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
You would say,

[1] He is running a temperature, or so it seems,

and that's an affirmative statement.

Now, how would you say if it's a nagative statement?

[2] He is not running a temperature, or ( ) it seems.

(Or, maybe "or so it doesn't seem" ???)

Hiro
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    "So" means "thus" in this context. I'm uncomfortable with using it in a negative sentence. We could say "He is not running a temperature, or so it seems" ("or so it doesn't seem" doesn't work) but one wouldn't ordinarily describe a negative in this way ie:

    A: "I think we're running out of gas"
    B: "So (thus) it (running out of gas) seems (to be)":tick:

    A: "I don't think we're running out of gas"
    B: "So it seems":cross:
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    A: "I think we're running out of gas"
    B: "So (thus) it (running out of gas) seems (to be)":tick:
    Do we also say B: "So we seem" meaning to say "So we seem to be running out of gas"?

    This is a bit apart from the topic of the thread, but I was just wondering, Dimcl.

    Hiro
     
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    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Don't we also say B: "So we seem" meaning to say "So we seem to be running out of gas"?

    This is a bit apart from the topic of the thread, but I was just wondering, Dimcl.

    Hiro
    Yes, we might say that, but only by using "So" in this context as a filler. We could just as easily say "Ummm" or "Errr" or "Ahem" or "Excuse me". "So" is entirely unnecessary.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Would you also say these then? Judging from what you answered earlier, yes but you wouldn't prefer the latter, right?

    [3] He is running a temperature, or so he seems.

    [4] He is not running a temperature, or so he seems.

    Hiro
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    No, you would not say "so he seems" in either sentence. I think Dimci mean to indicate that a person might say "So, we seem to be running out of gas" or "Well, we seem to be running out of gas" or "Umm, we seem to be running out of gas" with "So" or "Well" or "Umm" just fillers that don't need to be there. That's a different situation and not the same as "So it seems."

    As to the negative construction, it sounds odd but I don't think it's necessarily incorrect.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I'm not sure I can explain this clearly, but I'm thinking this might work:

    He is not running a temperature, or it seems not.

    On the other hand, I could be going mad.
    Notwithstanding the unorthodox construction (not madness, I'm sure!), I think this is correct. I think, however, that we are all more or less agreed that using "so it seems" in a negative construction is highly suspect if not downright incorrect.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    A: "I think we're running out of gas"
    B: "So (thus) it (running out of gas) seems (to be)":tick:
    As kalamazoo pointed out, the construction I'm looking at is a bit different, but you mean by the above "So it seems (that) we're running out of gas" here, right? (it = we're running out of gas) I guess you are not saying "So it seems to be we're running out of gas."

    Yes, we might say that, but only by using "So" in this context as a filler. We could just as easily say "Ummm" or "Errr" or "Ahem" or "Excuse me". "So" is entirely unnecessary.
    "Excuse me, we seem" ??? Does this sound natural? (I know, again, this is not the construction I'm looking at, but I wonder if it stands natural)

    Notwithstanding the unorthodox construction (not madness, I'm sure!), I think this is correct. I think, however, that we are all more or less agreed that using "so it seems" in a negative construction is highly suspect if not downright incorrect.
    In order to understand what you are saying fully, I wish to clarify with you if you mean "we all more or less agreed" by saying "we are all more or less agreed." And do you mean "suspected"?

    Thanks, Dimcl, for all your explanation. It certainly deepened my understanding of the usage of the word "so."

    Or it seems not --- YES! this is what I wanted to know!

    Hiro
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    With this you place stress on "seems," right?

    Could we also invert it and say, "He is not running a temperature, or not it seems"?
    The inversion would not work, I'm sorry to say. Yes, the stress would be on "seems".

    I have to point out that I made the suggestion of this wording in an attempt to find something close to your original wording that would work. I actually agree with Dimcl's assertion in the first response to your question, where she says that "He is not running a temperature, or so it seems" is technically correct although perhaps not often used. I would probably word the sentence in one of these ways:

    It would seem he is not running a temperature.
    He seems not to be running a temperature.

    EDIT: I also like desert_fox's suggestion below, or "It seems (that) he is not running a temperature."
     
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    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Thanks very much, cycloneviv.

    How about "or not does it seem"? I guess it doesn't work, either, does it?

    Many thanks, and good night (it's quite late here).

    Hiro
     
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