This deal wouldn't go forward if...

TrentinaNE

Senior Member
USA
English (American)
Regarding the management of U.S. ports by a company in the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Pres. Bush stated:
This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America.
I imagine his intended meaning is "If we were concerned that this deal would adversely affect the Security of the United States of America, then we wouldn't undertake it." However, his actual words seem to connote: "If we paid attention to the security of the United States of America, then we wouldn't undertake this deal." What do you think? Did he use sloppy wording that seems to mean the opposite of what he probably was trying to convey?

Elizabeth
 
  • Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Eek. I agree with you. By concerned, I think he meant "if we had any concerns which result from the deal," and the sentence is reasonable when read that way. But it could equally well be understood with the connotation you describe.
    But then sloppy wording is not exactly... er... foreign to G.W. Bush.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Typical - of course the words don't mean what he meant to say, but we are all meant to know what he meant to say anyway so it doesn't matter what the words he said mean.
    It is unfortunate, but he is not alone in adopting this style.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    TrentinaNE said:
    What do you think? Did he use sloppy wording that seems to mean the opposite of what he probably was trying to convey?
    In all likelihood, he didn't mean what he said, and meant what he didn't say, so to speak.

    Where is Yogi Berra? We need an interpreter for those in the bush leagues and in offshore international locations closer to home than far away. Know what I mean?
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    The grammar obsessed one weighs in again. :)

    This is a great teaching example of how a word grouping may acquire a meaning other than "sum of its parts". And how nonnatives would be lucky to have a chance to find this out.

    The paraphrases "have concerns" and "be concerned about/for" have come to have different and incompatible meanings. But other pairs give the result we would expect instead. Pairs like

    "have (an) understanding", "understand"
    "have confidence that", "be confident that"

    either have pretty much the same implication, or their different implications don't contradict one another.

    Of course, the person who holds the highest office in the USA ought to be equal to such subtleties. My fellow Americans who vote for a W Bush or a Reagan don't care. They know the country is still in capable hands, hands other than those of the President. :mad:
     
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