You need to be more serious

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Anfisa, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Anfisa

    Anfisa Senior Member

    Russian
    Could <You need to be more serious> be substitude by <You should be more serious>?

    "Foxes love corn more than I do. Two or three came last night and had a party." "A fox party!" Jody laughed. "I'd like to see that!" Buck didn't smile. He said, "You need to be more serious. We'll get them tonight. We'll take our guns and get them." (Simplified of The Yearling. 49)
     
  2. Chez Senior Member

    London
    English English
    Yes, they are almost synonymous. But the word 'should' implies a more censorious tone (like telling the person off); 'need to be' is slightly gentler, like a suggestion rather than an order.
     
  3. Anfisa

    Anfisa Senior Member

    Russian
    Is <You should be more serious> an order rather than a suggestion?
    What did Jody mean by <"A fox party!" Jody laughed. "I'd like to see that!">? Did he mean <He didn't believe Buck's words about "foxes' party">?
     
  4. Franco-filly Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - Southern England
    She probably had a mental picture of foxes wearing party hats, sitting on a picnic blanket, drinking squash, and eating jelly and ice cream and cake which amused her but he found she was being flippant.
     
  5. Anfisa

    Anfisa Senior Member

    Russian
    (Jody is a boy not a girl)
    Did Jody think Buck told him a lie that's why Buck said "you need to be more serious"?
     
  6. Franco-filly Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - Southern England
    No. When Buck mentioned party - presumably meaning the foxes must have had great fun romping in the corn - Jody conjured up the picture of foxes having a children's party which amused him. However, Buck didn't appreciate his jocular manner.
     
  7. Anfisa

    Anfisa Senior Member

    Russian
    Thanks a lot.
    Do you think <You should be more serious> is an order rather than a suggestion like <you need to be more serious>?
     
  8. Franco-filly Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - Southern England
    Yes, I agree with Chez #2, it sounds more abrupt and authoritative.
    Edit: Perhaps not so much an order as a reprimand
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  9. Anfisa

    Anfisa Senior Member

    Russian
    Thanks a lot.
     
  10. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    London
    British English
    'Should' often has a moral imperative tone to it, a sense of duty, but that's all. But the verb used here is 'need', and this is very serious business. The foxes are eating their food. I don't think 'should' would be better, nor are the two interchangeable. 'Need' reflects the grim necessity of these people's situation.
     
  11. Anfisa

    Anfisa Senior Member

    Russian
    Thanks a lot.
     

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