owes <it> to the belief...

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Baltic Sea

Banned
Polish
Hello again!

Romeo's mention of sick and green in this line owes to the Renaissance belief that women who protractedly maintained their virginity were subject to green-sickness, so named because of a form of anemia that could affect young women.

Shouldn't the sentence above be supplemented with the word "it" after "owes"?

I may be wrong, though.
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    That doesn't strike me as a natural expression. If I insisted on using "owe," I would have written "is owing to the belief." Probably "is due to the belief" would have been better.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I think "owes to" here is being used in a sense like "depends on". It certainly won't work to just add IT in there. My feeling is this is standard, but not common usage. I await the input of greater scholars to sort us out!
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Exactly, this is the usual way. The author has quite legitimately shortened "is owing" to "owes"
    It's just an unusual way of saying the same thing.

    Another example:

    Jack is always owing me money. = Jack always owes me money.
    To be honest I don't think this is quite the same.

    Owing TO is a different concpet, it I was at home I would check in the OED n line to see how it has been used in the past.
     

    kengwilson

    Senior Member
    English from the North of England
    "owes to" is possibly derived from the passive "is owed to", which makes more semantic sense than the active "is owing to". I personally would not use either expression in this context. "refers to", "is attributable to" "derives from" come to mind as alternatives.

    KGW
     

    grubble

    Senior Member
    British English
    "owes to" is possibly derived from the passive "is owed to", which makes more semantic sense than the active "is owing to". I personally would not use either expression in this context. "refers to", "is attributable to" "derives from" come to mind as alternatives.

    KGW
    I completely disagree.

    Romeo's mention of sick and green in this line is owed to the Renaissance belief :confused:
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Surely "owes to the fact" as used in the examples linked from Glenfarclas's post is a set phrase, used in a quite different way from the original sentence. As far as I can see, the original is just plain wrong.

    The options I would see as being the right way of expressing the intended thought are

    Romeo's mention of sick and green in this line comes from the Renaissance belief ...
    Romeo's mention of sick and green in this line derives from the Renaissance belief ...
    Romeo's mention of sick and green in this line refers to (or is a reference to) the Renaissance belief ...

    I don't think that
    Romeo's mention of sick and green in this line results from the Renaissance belief ...
    is quite right - Romeo doesn't say it as a consequence of the belief, but the belief provides an explanation of his use of the phrase.
     
    Last edited:

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Reading the example, I kept searching for the object, for whatever the mention of sick and green owes to the Renaissance belief.
    I don't believe I have come across this use of "owe" until now.

    I can't find a relevant definition of owe (intransitive) in the OED.
    BUT
    The WR dictionary has
    3 (owe something to) have something because of.
    - which might apply, though it's difficult to tell without an illustrative example.

    Merriam-Webster has it :)
    2 : to be attributable <an idea that owes to Greek philosophy>
     
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