slow to walk on

siares

Senior Member
Slovak
Hello all,
I suppose it is ok to say:
A good road is easy/a pleasure to drive on.

How do I say similar thing with 'slow'?

- That pub is 10 minutes from you, you said - let's meet there in 10.
- Let's make it 15, snow is slow to walk on.

Thank you.
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    - Let's make it 15, snow is slow to walk on.
    Although the meaning is perfectly clear, it doesn't sound very natural. The grammar is fine, it's just the message that's strange.
    Would you say a phrase such as "it's slow to walk on snow"?
    Probably not, even though "It's easy/difficult to walk on snow" sounds fine.
    In the example with "the road is easy to walk on" (or "a pleasure" instead of "easy"), although it's the driving on the road that is easy, we can think of the road itself as being easy too.
    We can likewise associate "easy" or "difficult" with the snow, but this doesn't work so well with "slow".
    We can even say "This road is slow to drive on" or "This is a slow road", but we would not say "This is slow snow", would we?
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't think "slow" is one of the adjectives that lend themselves to this construction.

    I could use "This kettle is slow to boil", which is altogether different.
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thank you, Vik, Edinburgher, velisarius
    Would you say a phrase such as "it's slow to walk on snow"?
    In my language I can. In English I could say it is dangerous, pleasant to walk on snow, I was wondering why slow is different..
    Probably not
    But - It's slower to walk on snow than on the pavement. - that's OK, right?
    we can think of the road itself as being easy too
    I don't know about this..
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Because he means "in ten minutes", not "at ten o'clock". This is made clear by the reply "let's make it 15", i.e. because the snow will slow him down, it will take him an extra 5 minutes to get to the pub.
    I guessed that several seconds after I posted, and edited that right away. Thank you anyway:)
    Probably not, even though "It's easy/difficult to walk on snow" sounds fine.
    In the example with "the road is easy to walk on" (or "a pleasure" instead of "easy"), although it's the driving on the road that is easy, we can think of the road itself as being easy too.
    We can likewise associate "easy" or "difficult" with the snow, but this doesn't work so well with "slow".
    We can even say "This road is slow to drive on" or "This is a slow road", but we would not say "This is slow snow", would we?
    That's what I meant -- if you can say "it's easy/a pleasure to drive on a good road", then you can say "a good road is easy/a pleasure to drive on".

    I wonder now if "the road is slow to drive on" is a similar instance to Veli's example "This kettle is slow to boil". I think it is not...

    And, "snow is difficult to walk on" -- this one is fine too, right?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    But - It's slower to walk on snow than on the pavement. - that's OK, right?
    Yes, because here the adjective "slower" clearly modifies "to walk", or "to walk on snow", and not "snow".
    And, "snow is difficult to walk on" -- this one is fine too, right?
    I would say so, yes.
    I wonder now if "the road is slow to drive on" is a similar instance to Veli's example "This kettle is slow to boil". I think it is not...
    I rather think it is.
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Do you mean with the same structure as in English?
    Yes, just different word order. On snow it is slow to walk.
    I can't say 'Snow is slow to walk on', but neither can I say: 'Kettle is slow to boil', so it's moot.:)
    Yes, because here the adjective "slower" clearly modifies "to walk", or "to walk on snow", and not "snow".
    How weird that it is so!!
    How is it more clear in case of 'slower' that it modifies walk rather than snow? I
    Edited (I missed edit above)
    'Let's make it 15, snow is slow to walk in.' sounds fine to me.
    Could the devil be in the preposition, not in the adjective?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    How is it more clear in case of 'slower' that it modifies walk rather than snow?
    It's not that it's "slower" rather than "slow". It's the "It is <adjective> to <verb> <preposition> <noun>" construction that makes the adjective modify the verb or the whole verb phrase, not the noun. The noun is buried in the prepositional phrase.
    "It is traditional to eat fish on Friday". Here "traditional" does not modify "Friday".
    Could the devil be in the preposition, not in the adjective?
    If you're paranoid enough, there are devils everywhere. I'd say in/on makes no difference to whether "snow is slow to ..." is OK.
    It makes a difference only to the meaning. Walking in the snow means walking while it is snowing (similar to "singing in the rain"). Walking on the snow means walking on snow-covered ground (including when it is no longer snowing).
     
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    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    It's the "It is <adjective> to <verb> <preposition> <noun>" construction that makes the adjective modify the verb or the whole verb phrase, not the noun. The noun in buried in the prepositional phrase.
    I don't get it - previously you said you wouldn't use this construction in case of slow walking on snow - or have I misunderstood?
    Would you say a phrase such as "it's slow to walk on snow"?
    Probably not, even though "It's easy/difficult to walk on snow" sounds fine.
    Walking in the snow means walking while it is snowing (similar to "singing in the rain"). Walking on the snow means walking on snow-covered ground (including when it is no longer snowing).
    Thanks for this!
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I don't get it - previously you said you wouldn't use this construction in case of slow walking on snow - or have I misunderstood?
    I said "probably not". :) What I meant was that "It is slow to walk on snow" is not as bad as "Snow is slow to walk on", but that I would prefer to rephrase it to something like "Walking on snow is slow" or "Walking on snow will slow you down".
    It's not that it's "slower" rather than "slow".
    Let me revisit this. Actually, "slower" does help here; it doesn't feel so bad when there is a "than" clause. Even then, I feel it works better with a participle than an infinitive: "Walking on snow is slower than (walking) on the pavement."
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Yes, just different word order. On snow it is slow to walk.
    I.e. in Slovak you do use a dummy pronoun and an adjective in this phrase? Not "On snow slowly to walk", like in Russian?:)

    I wonder now if "the road is slow to drive on" is a similar instance to Veli's example "This kettle is slow to boil". I think it is not...
    I rather think it is.
    Why I asked was because in both sentences the agent of the verb is not the subject of the sentence. The kettle boils, but the road itself doesn't drive.
    This kettle is slow to boil = This kettle boils slowly.
    And that doesn't work with the road sentence. Or doesn't that matter?...
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    dummy pronoun and an adjective in this phrase?
    No, no, an adverb - slowly - how silly of me!! There is no voiced dummy pronoun, just implied, there´s a reflexive one.
    I said "probably not". :) What I meant was that "It is slow to walk on snow" is not as bad as "Snow is slow to walk on", but that I would prefer to rephrase it to something like "Walking on snow is slow" or "Walking on snow will slow you down".
    Let me revisit this. Actually, "slower" does help here; it doesn't feel so bad when there is a "than" clause. Even then, I feel it works better with a participle than an infinitive: "Walking on snow is slower than (walking) on the pavement."
    Thanks!
    Googling noun is adjective to verb, I found a name for this on a forum
    Wiki
    structure 1
    tough movement refers to sentences in which the syntactic subject of the main verb is logically the object of an embedded non-finite verb.
    Chris is easy to please. It is easy to please Chris.

    Adjectives that allow this construction include amusing, annoying, awkward, bad, beautiful, beneficial, boring, comfortable, confusing, convenient, cumbersome, dangerous, delightful, depressing, desirable, difficult, dull, easy, educational, embarrassing, essential, excellent, exhausting, expensive, fashionable, fine, fun, good, great, hard, horrible, ideal, illegal, important, impossible, impressive, instructive, interesting, irritating, loathsome, necessary, nice, odd, painful, pleasant, pleasurable, rare, risky, safe, simple, strange, tedious, terrible, tiresome, tough, tricky, unpleasant, useful, and weird. This construction is also possible with noun phrases like a pleasure, a breeze, or a cinch, and with the verb take.

    structure 2
    The tough movement construction is similar to but distinct from pretty constructions and adjectives modified by too or enough:
    These pictures are pretty to look at. *It is pretty to look at these pictures.
    Lee's mattress is too lumpy to sleep on. *It is too lumpy to sleep on Lee's mattress.


    structure 3
    not from Wiki
    Chris is eager to please.
    Completely different because Chris is not object of please. *It is eager to please Chris
    Why I asked was because in both sentences the agent of the verb is not the subject of the sentence. The kettle boils, but the road itself doesn't drive.
    This kettle is slow to boil = This kettle boils slowly.
    And that doesn't work with the road sentence. Or doesn't that matter?...
    You were onto something here...In the tough movement structure, the kettle can be object of boil - boil the kettle, but the road is not object of drive.
     
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    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Walking in the snow means walking while it is snowing (similar to "singing in the rain").
    Thanks for this!
    Walking in snow can mean walking while it is snowing, but it is also used for deep snow when it is not snowing. If I said "deep snow" I would certainly use "in." From books:

    "The ground next to the bridge was covered with snow, so I found myself walking in snow ...."

    "When walking in deep snow, for example, cats spread their toes for support ...."

    "Walking in the snow" makes it more likely that it's about walking while it's snowing, but it was Edinbugher who added "the."
     
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    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I have no problem with "Deep snow is difficult to walk in" (= walking in deep snow is difficult), so I'm happy with "Deep snow is slow to walk in." The difference to me is that with "slow" I have to think about the grammar; with "difficult," I don't.
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thank you, srk, Heypresto, Trochfa, Edinburgher, Vik.
    slow-going
    Thanks for this, I´ll try to remember to use this sometimes.
    "Walking in the snow" makes it more likely that it's about walking while it's snowing
    Hmmm, interesting, I wonder how´the´works here.
    The difference to me is that with "slow" I have to think about the grammar; with "difficult," I don't.
    Do you have to think about grammar in
    Heroin is illegal to have or sell. ?

    Illegal is on that wiki list as allowed in the construction, but it sounds equally strange to me as slow.
    Heroin is slow to sell today.
     
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