V+Object+adj.+ clause

Kurt Jiang

Senior Member
china mandarin chinese
Hi, there

Would you help me judge which one is correct as follows:

1: Do I understand right what you have said?

2: Do I understand right what you said?

3: Do I understand what you have said right?

4: Do I understand it right what you have said?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Hi, there

    Would you help me judge which one is correct as follows:

    1: Do I understand right what you have said?

    2: Do I understand right what you said?

    3: Do I understand what you have said right?

    4: Do I understand it right what you have said?

    Thanks in advance!
    Hello Kurt Jiang,

    All of them are correct but have slightly different meanings. #1, #2, and #4 have the same meaning in that the "right" goes with "understand". #3 has a different meaning in that "right" goes with "said".

    I hope that this helps.
    Advocatus Diaboli
     

    Kurt Jiang

    Senior Member
    china mandarin chinese
    Thanks, Advocatus Diaboli

    I am still puzzled about #4. Can "it" here be used a formal object in this object clause (what you have said), because I only see "it" applying in the "that" clause rather than a wh- clause. For instance: I think it necessary that we take plenty of hot water every day. Here it is used as the formal object of the real object that clase.

    Thanks
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Sentence 3 is ambiguous and can have either meaning. Sentence 4 is ungrammatical because of the it, but punctuation can make it right:

    Do I understand it right (what you have said)?
    What you have said, do I understand it right?

    Understand + right is an unusual combination, but it makes sense.
     
    Sentence 3 is ambiguous and can have either meaning. Sentence 4 is ungrammatical because of the it, but punctuation can make it right:

    Do I understand it right (what you have said)?
    What you have said, do I understand it right?

    Understand + right is an unusual combination, but it makes sense.
    Interesting that you mention that the two words form an unusual combination. I was thinking the same thing. I prefer the sound of understand + correctly although using "right" is not incorrect. It just does not sound as good to my native ears.

    A.D.
     

    FromPA

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Interesting that you mention that the two words form an unusual combination. I was thinking the same thing. I prefer the sound of understand + correctly although using "right" is not incorrect. It just does not sound as good to my native ears.

    A.D.
    "Right" doesn't sound right because the sentence needs an adverb, not an adjective. "Correctly" would be the right word to use.
     
    After reading these posts and pondering some more on it, I would say eliminate all of the words and just say "Am I understanding you?". Either one understands or does not understand. I would say that "Am I understanding you correctly/right/<any other word>?" is redundant.

    Thoughts?

    Advocatus Diaboli
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    After reading these posts and pondering some more on it, I would say eliminate all of the words and just say "Am I understanding you?". Either one understands or does not understand. I would say that "Am I understanding you correctly/right/<any other word>?" is redundant.

    Thoughts?

    Advocatus Diaboli
    Welcome to the forum, Advocate Diaboli.

    I don't feel the rest of the words are necessarily redundant, but I think I would understand the question without them.

    After thinking about right for a while, I believe the problem with right in the original sentences is ambiguity. It is not that right can modify anything in sentences 1 or 2 but understand, but that I have to read through the sentences more than once to be sure of what right is meant to modify. Right can modify so many things so many different ways that I think it needs to be placed as close as possible to what it modifies:

    I understood what you said right. [Only what you said right?]
    I understood it right when you said it. [Right when = as soon as.]

    As you have said, putting right on the end makes it seem to modify said. Before what, I have to work out that it cannot modify what as it might modify when.

    The closest we can get the adverb to what it modifies is right in front of understand, but then right has to become rightly or something similar:

    I am not sure I rightly understand what you have said.
    Do I really understand what you meant?

     
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