";"semicolon means a turn in the course of events?

natasha_139

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,here's my question:

"Smash hits such as “Great Revival” may not travel well. Foreign bottoms are less biddable. But as Sam Goldwyn supposedly said: “Don’t pay any attention the critics; don’t even ignore them.”

Acturally I'm not sure what Sam Goldwyn mean by saying "don't pay attention to the critics; don’t even ignore them.”
In his words, there is semicolon ";", I guess maybe he means do not bother the critics but they cannot be ignored. Is that correct?

Thank you!
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    "Ignoring" requires at least a minimal effort on the part of the "ignorer." Goldwyn is saying that critics' comments are completely irrelevant and shouldn't even be allowed to enter one's consciousness. The semicolon simply joins two independent clauses into one sentence. It has little effect on the meaning.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Sam Goldwyn was famous for torturing the English Language as he never learned it properly. Most of what you see of his quotations are there because they sound very funny to the native English ear.

    “Don’t pay any attention the critics; don’t even ignore them.” is funny because the imperative "Don't ignore!" is exactly the opposite of what Sam Goldwyn meant to say.
     

    natasha_139

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Sam Goldwyn was famous for torturing the English Language as he never learned it properly. Most of what you see of his quotations are there because they sound very funny to the native English ear.

    “Don’t pay any attention the critics; don’t even ignore them.” is funny because the imperative "Don't ignore!" is exactly the opposite of what Sam Goldwyn meant to say.
    Hi PaulQ, you said it is the opposite of what Sam Goldwyn meant to say, what exactly you want to say? Could you further explain it for me,please? I felt more confused now.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Yes. Sam Goldwyn was Jewish and Polish, his native languages were Yiddish and Polish. He was famous for saying things like the quote you gave (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/samuel_goldwyn.html - look for the contradictions and paradoxes) Whether he actually knew at the time that he was saying these things, is open to debate.

    Goldwyn was trying to say, “Don’t pay any attention the critics; don’t even ignore them.” However, because of his poor English, he actually said “Don’t pay any attention the critics; pay attention to them.” - If you do not ignore someone, you pay attention to them - so his sentences taken together (as they must be because of the semicolon) contradict each other.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top