she's so clever it makes me weep

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LV4-26

Senior Member
Hello,

I can't quite understand this sentence. Here's the context : the speaker admires his girl friend a lot. She's much better educated than he is, she's passed exams that he's failed and so on..

I know the usual meaning of "weep" which I think is close to "cry". But I can't see what it has to do here.
Does he weep out of envy or something ? But he adores her so he should be glad for her on the contrary.

There must be a peculiar meaning to the verb "weep" which I don't know, or an expression I'm not familiar with (and that I've not found in the dictionnary).

Thks in advance for your answers.
 
  • timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    Hello,

    I can't quite understand this sentence. Here's the context : the speaker admires his girl friend a lot. She's much better educated than he is, she's passed exams that he's failed and so on..

    I know the usual meaning of "weep" which I think is close to "cry". But I can't see what it has to do here.
    Does he weep out of envy or something ? But he adores her so he should be glad for her on the contrary.

    There must be a peculiar meaning to the verb "weep" which I don't know, or an expression I'm not familiar with (and that I've not found in the dictionnary).

    Thks in advance for your answers.
    No it's not a bad thing, it's just a way to stress something. I think the original idea is from "beautiful". Say you look at a beautiful painting you could say "it is so beautiful it makes me weep". This is just a extension of that, and doesn't suggest he is jealous, or really about to cry or even sad.
     

    ILT

    Senior Member
    México - Español/Castellano
    Well, yes, I think it refers to cry, and it can be tears of sadness, envy or even joy. The expression weep for joy does exist. So yes, it can actually be happy for her for being so clever.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I love translating said:
    Well, yes, I think it refers to cry, and it can be tears of sadness, envy or even joy. The expression weep for joy does exist. So yes, it can actually be happy for her for being so clever.
    Yes you're absolutely right, but we do use it just to show how much we feel something - I don't think you can assume he is really going to cry. He may mean that, but more often it is just a way of stressing what you are saying.
     

    ILT

    Senior Member
    México - Español/Castellano
    Timpeac: I totally agree with you, you just made me weep for joy for everything I learn from all of you!!! ;)
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thanks a lot Timpeac and I love translating (so do I :) )


    Ok, I think I've got it. The example of the painting is perfectly clear : it has to do with emotions and things like that. In other words "she's so clever that it moves me". There's some kind of slightly jocular exaggeration in it.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I love translating said:
    Timpeac: I totally agree with you, you just made me weep for joy for everything I learn from all of you!!! ;)
    That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all day. Thank you!!

    On that high note, I think I'd better go to bed. I suppose it's still quite early in Mexico. Good night!
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    Thanks a lot Timpeac and I love translating (so do I :) )


    Ok, I think I've got it. The example of the painting is perfectly clear : it has to do with emotions and things like that. In other words "she's so clever that it moves me". There's some kind of slightly jocular exaggeration in it.
    Yes, exactly.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Clever" doesn't usually go with "weep." Clever is sharp. Clever is ingenious. Someone who is clever makes you wake up, take notice and crack a sideways smile because of the ingenuity involved in whatever actions they have done that are clever.

    Someone who is exquisitely intelligent--someone who evokes strong emotion through what they have wrought--in art, in music, in writing--that is someone that is so beyond clever, so beyond merely human--someone who has been cupped in the hand of God and used by Him to etch for humanity the edges of heaven by what they create--this is the person who will make you weep!
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    mjscott said:
    "Clever" doesn't usually go with "weep." Clever is sharp. Clever is ingenious. Someone who is clever makes you wake up, take notice and crack a sideways smile because of the ingenuity involved in whatever actions they have done that are clever.

    Someone who is exquisitely intelligent--someone who evokes strong emotion through what they have wrought--in art, in music, in writing--that is someone that is so beyond clever, so beyond merely human--someone who has been cupped in the hand of God and used by Him to etch for humanity the edges of heaven by what they create--this is the person who will make you weep!
    What you wrote is beautiful. Perhaps the reason that this expression sounds odd, though, is that it may be the British sense of "clever"-- which is closer to what you suggest--that is being used here.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thks all, you've been really helpful.

    Now, I'd like to translate that. I can't do it litterally because it would onlly work if the adjective was "beautiful" instead of "clever". I have an idea but it's pretty informal (though not offensive or even slangy)

    So what do you think of the level of style in this sentence ? Is it very informal, or just "not formal", ordinary spoken language. Is it grammatically correct ?
    The translation I'm thinking of is definitely "not grammatically correct" but it'sthe kind of things you hear everyday.

    PS : don't be surpised if I don't answer before four or five hours : I have to go to work.

    Thank you
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    "Clever" for us is what for you (I assume you're American Mjscott? It might be helpful if you can add your country to your profile) is "smart". Lisa Simpson is a very clever little girl. "smart" for us (although you do hear it meaning "clever" occasionally due to all the American films and TV we get ) means "chic" or "well-dressed". "The director is paying a visit today, so I all want you to be dressed very smart!"
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Hello, LV4-26 reporting back from work ;)

    Concerning "clever", the context shows that it refers (here) to somebody who is intellectually gifted, the kind of pupil who has the best marks at school and always understand at once what the teacher says.

    Now, nobody answered my question about the wording. Is it grammatically correct or not ? My feeling is that it isn't quite correct but not all that incorrect. What do you think ?

    Thank you
    Jean-Michel
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    Hello, LV4-26 reporting back from work ;)

    Concerning "clever", the context shows that it refers (here) to somebody who is intellectually gifted, the kind of pupil who has the best marks at school and always understand at once what the teacher says.

    Now, nobody answered my question about the wording. Is it grammatically correct or not ? My feeling is that it isn't quite correct but not all that incorrect. What do you think ?

    Thank you
    Jean-Michel
    J-M Do you mean is "she's so clever it makes me weep" a grammatical sentence? If so it is absolutely fine, not incorrect at all as far as I can see.

    You can have it in more obvious sentences, "it was so hot it made me sweat".
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thanks, timpeac

    Yes, that is what I meant. I thought that, maybe, "she's so clever that it makes me weep" would be more formal. (though I clearly understand that you said "not incorrect" but you didn't say "formal").

    Hard luck for me, then. Since the only translation I've found is incorrect in French.

    Thks for you help
    Jean-Michel
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    Thanks, timpeac

    Yes, that is what I meant. I thought that, maybe, "she's so clever that it makes me weep" would be more formal. (though I clearly understand that you said "not incorrect" but you didn't say "formal").

    Hard luck for me, then. Since the only translation I've found is incorrect in French.

    Thks for you help
    Jean-Michel
    Adding a "that" (where it is optional) is always more formal in English, so if that is what you are going for then add it in, both are correct I'd say.

    In French, how about "elle est intelligente à en pleurer"? If you can't think of something you could always ask for some ideas in the French-English forum.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    timpeac said:
    In French, how about "elle est intelligente à en pleurer"? If you can't think of something you could always ask for some ideas in the French-English forum.
    Thanks. This is what I was warming up to. Though, strangely enough, I feel that is would not be "fair" to ask for a translation in french as I am a french native speaker. (After all, it's my job).

    I've thought of the translation you've suggested and I think I'm going for that.
    Specially if I was convinced that the original english sound* a little bit "unusual" , as it does in french. i.e, the fact of saying "clever" in an expression where you generally expect "beautiful".

    *this is intended as a subjonctive, that's why I wrote "sound" instead of "sounds". Is that correct ?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    Thanks. This is what I was warming up to. Though, strangely enough, I feel that is would not be "fair" to ask for a translation in french as I am a french native speaker. (After all, it's my job).

    I've thought of the translation you've suggested and I think I'm going for that.
    Specially if I was convinced that the original english sound* a little bit "unusual" , as it does in french. i.e, the fact of saying "clever" in an expression where you generally expect "beautiful".

    *this is intended as a subjonctive, that's why I wrote "sound" instead of "sounds". Is that correct ?
    I wouldn't worry about asking for a translation IN to your own language, people do all the time, I know I have. We can't always think of the perfect translation in our own language for something even if we understand the original perfectly.

    By the way, you cannot use "sound" here like you do. I understand what you mean by subjunctive, but we just don't use it any more apart from in some set phrases and situations. What we do instead is put a "may" or a "might" in front of the verb (I don't think there's much difference in nuance between the two). "Especially if I was convinced that the original English might sound a little bit "unusual"".

    Note the E on "specially". You might hear "specially" meaning "especially" but the two are different, and it is just "especially" being said quickly. If you wanted to represent this in writing for some reason to show someone is speaking quickly you need an apostrophe to replace the missing letter " 'specially".

    Edit - Oh, and a capital letter for English!
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thanks for correcting me, timpeac

    As an afterthought I also thought of "would sound". How about that ?
    And shouldn't I say "if I were convinced" ?

    Now, should I be convinced, by the way ? I mean, do you have an idea about my main question ? Have you already heard a sentence like that (with "clever" where you expect "beautiful") ? Is it likely to be heard frequently ?
    (this author seems to like playing with the language, would you say this is another instance of it ?)
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    "If I were" is perceived as more correct. Lots of people do say "If I was" all the time, but I suggest you use "were" just to be sure. "Would" would also work, yes! There is a difference of nuance between "would" and "might". "Would" is stronger. "Might" is more like "could".

    "she's so clever it makes me weep" sounds fine to me. It is just a bit colloquial, because presumably he doesn't really mean he will weep. Yes I have phrases like this before where the adjective is not "beautiful".
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thank you so much timpeac, you've been really helpful.

    I've done what you suggested (French-English forum) and, all in all, I think I've been able to make up my mind as to a translation.

    Thank you for the corrections as well : my English is improving by the minute ;) ... I think :eek:
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    Thank you so much timpeac, you've been really helpful.

    I've done what you suggested (French-English forum) and, all in all, I think I've been able to make up my mind as to a translation.

    Thank you for the corrections as well : my English is improving by the minute ;) ... I think :eek:
    You're welcome, and your English is already excellent.:)
     
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