sail rough seas

taked4700

Senior Member
japanese japan
Hi,

1. We are going to sail rough seas, cold and wild.

2. We are going to sail a rough sea, cold and wild.

I guess 1. would be idiomatic, but not sure if 2. is.

Is 2. idiomatic?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I would not say 2.

    The thing is, 'sail seas' is more or less a fixed expression, or rather, there are several of them: sail the seas, sail the seven seas, sail the sea

    The idea is that sailing is your life and you sail everywhere, all around the world. Also, it suggests that you sail the seas far and wide, covering entire distances and completing voyages. In any case, it is not an expression I associate with a single voyage as in your example 2. In your example I might use a preposition - in or maybe through...
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Both sentences seem to me too poetic-sounding to be "idiomatic" in the sense we tend to use that word (normal in everyday English, whether formal or informal).

    The meaning may or not be the same, depending on whether "a rough sea" just means "the rough sea" or one particular sea (or area of sea).

    I think I see less in it than boozer does, because there isn't any context. Where did you find the sentence, taked?
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    Thank you, Boozer and Velisarius.

    Both sentences are my self-made. So, there is no context.

    What I think from your posts:

    1. English has a clear distinction between actual description of real things and figurative description while my mother tongue Japanese does not have such a distinction.

    2. I had thought that "cold and wild" modifying "seas" makes that word more concrete and specific so that it might be idiomatic to use it as "a sea". Example: We could not see the sun because of the cloudy sky, but a few hours ago, I could see a golden sun.

    3.
    But Boozer seems to have said that to sail rough seas does not suggest a single actual sailing but to manage to live in the real world or go through the hardship of the real world. So, it is not permitted to use a sea in that phrase, which I think is very reasonable.

    Thanks again,
    taked4700
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    So, it is not permitted to use a sea in that phrase, which I think is very reasonable.
    Though it may not be quite true :) It probably depends on how you say what you mean to say. As I said, I would probably use some preposition in a situation like your example 2, but maybe it is just me...
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Though it may not be quite true :) It probably depends on how you say what you mean to say. As I said, I would probably use some preposition in a situation like your example 2, but maybe it is just me...
    It's not:). it sounds like a "modern" usage, similar to "Cycling the Pennine Way", "Driving Route 66" (neither of which I could say) and similar.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    It's not:). it sounds like a "modern" usage, similar to "Cycling the Pennine Way", "Driving Route 66" (neither of which I could say) and similar.
    :thumbsup: I am glad it is not just me. :) While I could say old set expressions like 'travel the world' and 'sail the seas', for some reason I find it awkward to use the same pattern for a single, specified voyage or trip as in the examples you have given. And example 2 has a similar sound to it. We are going to sail a rough sea. :confused: What, we are setting sail tomorrow morning, right? :D
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    Thank you, Boozer and Velisarius and Sound Shift.

    I guess that "I dig the ground." would not indicates a metaphor but I also understand it's unnatural to say 'drive Route 66' because it suggests that you are moving/manipulating the Route 66.

    Prepositions are difficult indeed.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    There is always a context. By 'always', I mean 'always, always, always', unless a malfunctioning robot is speaking. There has to be some reason why these words came into your mind. A context is not the same as a source. A source might be something somebody has dreamt.
    What made you think of this particular question?
    I once dreamt that a French taxi driver said something to me that I didn't quite understand. I found out later that it was French slang for a sexual invitation. (Luckily my default response is 'No'.)
    Both 'the context and source' were 'my dream'.

    It's very hard indeed for me to imagine a language which has no metaphors, double meanings, euphemisms, and even, one word having more than one meaning.
    Please give us explanations: we are all very willing to help you! :)

    I guess that "I dig the ground." would not indicates a metaphor but I also understand it's unnatural to say 'drive Route 66' because it suggests that you are moving/manipulating the Route 66.
    :eek:
    I'm truly sorry to say that I have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about.
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    [QUOTE="Hermione Golightly, post: 17153220, member: 411692"
    It's very hard indeed for me to imagine a language which has no metaphors, double meanings, euphemisms, and even, one word having more than one meaning.
    Please give us explanations: we are all very willing to help you! :)
    :eek:
    I'm truly sorry to say that I have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about.[/QUOTE]

    I'm afraid that I have had you misunderstand me. I didn't intend to say that Japanese does not have metaphors. I just meant that to sail rough seas is a kind of a fixed construction which indicates it's a metaphor whereas to sail in a rough sea would suggest that someone sails a boat or a ship in a rough sea. English has articles definite and indefinite, which enables that distinction by using articles. But as you've known that Japanese does not have articles, it is not possible to use articles in order to make a clear distinction between actual description of real things and figurative description.

    I guess that the construction of 'sail' + 'rough seas' would be the key to show it is a metaphor because to sail usually means that you steer a boat or a ship in a sea so to sail takes a thing as an object that you can easily manipulate or move such as a boat or a ship but not a sea because you cannot move a sea from one place to another.

    The construction of "I dig the ground.", I had thought, would have similarity with "sail rough sea."

    The object of to dig would be a hole and the ground is a place in which you dig a hole.
    The object of to sail is a boat or a ship and rough seas is a place in which you sail a boat.

    One more thing, "the" comes from "that". "That" indicates not only a thing that you are pointing to but also something that you already are conscious of in your mind. This would suggest that sail the seas, sail the seven seas, sail the sea are all metaphors since "the" would guide you to your inner world where your past experiences have build your vocabulary and make it possible for you to understand what the other party are saying by using metaphors.

    Thanks again,
    taked4700
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Not necessarily a metaphor, by any means. There would need to be a suitable context.

    We are going to sail rough seas, cold and wild.


    I'm not a sailor, but if I were putting out to sea in rough weather I would be more than likely to use just such a poetic expression, in a jocular fashion.

    We are going to sail a rough sea, cold and wild.

    The same with this one. A jokey, rhetorical way of saying I'm going to take a little trip round the bay. :D
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    Thank you, Velisarius.

    I just found an interesting sentence:

    We sail a changeful sea through halcyon days and storm.

    I think that is a good example of the metaphor.

    What do you say to this?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Thank you, Velisarius.

    I just found an interesting sentence:

    We sail a changeful sea through halcyon days and storm.

    I think that is a good example of the metaphor.

    What do you say to this?
    It might be a metaphor, in context. It can be read more or less literally too: It might be a general observation on the life of the sailor, said by a nautical man (or person, just in case I offend anyone here).
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    An example of a sustained metaphor that can't be taken literally:



    • There is a tide in the affairs of men,
      Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
      Omitted, all the voyage of their life
      Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
      On such a full sea are we now afloat;
      And we must take the current when it serves,
      Or lose our ventures.
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    Thank you, Velisarius.

    I just remember a phrase written by a famous politician.

    No, I can't remember that full text. So it is a good idea to google the part of it.

    I finally have reached that:

    “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
    Quote by Robert F. Kennedy: “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts...”
     
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