the wind is heavy/blowing heavily/it is windy

lgr632525968

Senior Member
Chinese
1)The wind is heavy outside.
2)The wind is blowing heavily outside.
3)It is windy ouside.

I wonder if those three sentences have the same meaning and are natural.

Thank you.
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    The third one's okay.

    Wind isn't heavy in English: it's strong or hard.

    There's a strong wind outside.
    The wind is blowing hard outside.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Examples 1 & 2 cannot be the same as example 3. because example 3. does not have the word "heavily/heavy" in it.

    Example 1 is unnatural. When used with wind, the adjective heavy does not work well as a predicate.

    Example 2 sounds a little unnatural. If the wind is blowing heavily, it usually blows heavily against something: "The wind blew heavily against the walls of the hut." <- you are creating an image of something heavy (e.g. an elephant) pushing against the walls.

    Example three is OK... if we correct the typo - outside :)
     

    lgr632525968

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you.

    If I say "It is windy outside", does it just mean " The wind is blowing oustside and you don't know whether it is hard or not?
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I incline toward PaulQ's view. This is Hemingway:
    Fred Archer went in the door opposite the code room and Thomas Hudson walked down the hall and walked down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Outside it was so bright the glare hurt his eyes and it was still blowing heavily from the north-northwest.

    - Islands in the Stream
    Now that his rage was gone he was excited by this storm as he was always by all storms. In a blizzard, a gale, a sudden line squall, a tropical storm, or a summer thunder shower in the mountains there was an excitement that came to him from no other thing. It was like the excitement of battle except that it was clean. There is a wind that blows through battle but that was a hot wind; hot and dry as your mouth; and it blew heavily; hot and dirtily; and it rose and died away with the fortunes of the day.

    - For Whom the Bell Tolls
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I still incline towards my original view.
    Blow heavily might work well for the likes of Hemingway wanting to convey the idea that there's some kind of actual weight to the wind, but for the everyday purposes of looking out of the window and reporting on what's happening outside I maintain that folk wouldn't use it:

    A: Welcome home, Bill. What's the weather like out there?
    B: It's very windy.:tick: / It's blowing hard up on the moors.:tick: / It's blowing a gale.:tick: / There's a strong wind from the northwest.:tick: / It's blowing heavily:cross:.
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I will not argue there can be only one correct answer to whether "blow heavily" sounds natural or not, but "heavily" has a few senses that do not specifically refer to weight. For example, at TheFreeDictionary's entry for the adverb one finds:

    with great force: hit the arm heavily against the wall
    severely; intensely: to suffer heavily
    in large amounts: to rain heavily
    to a considerable degree: relied heavily on others' data
    indulging excessively: drunk heavily
    in a labored manner: breathed heavily
    in a manner designed for heavy duty: a heavily constructed car

    With that in mind, I don't feel Hemingway necessarily wanted to convey that the wind had, as you say, an "actual weight". To me it seems more likely that "heavily" was used as a synonym for "with great force" or "intensely", especially in the first quotation.
     
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    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    While I wouldn't take up arms against Hemingway's (or lgr's) use of "heavily" for wind, I do find it a little odd. In fact, ES, I find several of the examples in your #9 somewhat odd (not wrong, just odd). The only ones I'd use naturally would be the examples with "rain", "breathed" and "relied". (I'm not even sure how I'd set about constructing something heavily!)

    Leaving aside certain metaphorical uses, it seems to me that "heavily" is used (not surprisingly) when there's a downward force involved, or at least some downward component. Rain falls heavily, you can walk heavily, or land heavily (from a jump), and so on. If the force is perceived as purely horizontal, it's more usual (as ewie suggested) to use words such as "strongly" or "hard".

    It's a fine difference sometimes, but let's look at a marginal case. "He leaned heavily on the door": there's no suggestion that he dug his feet in and pushed horizontally. He simply used his weight (or if you want get technical, a component of it perpendicular to his inclined body ;)) to apply a force to the door. If he used horizontal muscular force, I would say "He pushed hard against the door" (not "He pushed heavily").

    Our normal perception of wind is that it's horizontal, so for me a wind doesn't blow heavily: it blows strongly or hard.

    Ws
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Greetings

    As these various responses show, reasonable men (and women) may differ. There is nothing wrong grammatically with a wind blowing heavy/heavily, and I bet that the crews of Nelson's navy would have known what "a heavy gale" would be.

    In other words: it is idiom and context, as ever in English, that determine how appropriate a form of words is. And I suspect that lgr632525968 is simply asking for what sounds natural in ordinary, conversational discourse.

    If that is so, the recommendation would be to avoid "heavy/heavily" - but to be aware that there is nothing in principle wrong with the expression.

    Σ
     
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