Discussion:
to watch
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a***@gmail.com
2018-06-11 02:18:12 UTC
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1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.

Is that sentence grammatical?
Is it idiomatic?

I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.

Gratefully,
Navi
Peter T. Daniels
2018-06-11 03:30:04 UTC
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On Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 10:18:15 PM UTC-4, ***@gmail.com wrote:

> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>
> Is that sentence grammatical?

Yes.

> Is it idiomatic?

No.

> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.

It would work if you wanted to say whatever it's supposed to mean.
Harrison Hill
2018-06-11 11:47:40 UTC
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On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>
> Is that sentence grammatical?
> Is it idiomatic?
>
> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>
> Gratefully,
> Navi

Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
But this isn't:

1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
Ian Jackson
2018-06-11 12:29:10 UTC
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In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>
>> Is that sentence grammatical?
>> Is it idiomatic?
>>
>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>
>> Gratefully,
>> Navi
>
>Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
>But this isn't:
>
>1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>
In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
--
Ian
Harrison Hill
2018-06-11 14:33:00 UTC
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On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> >On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> >>
> >> Is that sentence grammatical?
> >> Is it idiomatic?
> >>
> >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> >>
> >> Gratefully,
> >> Navi
> >
> >Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
> >But this isn't:
> >
> >1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> >
> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
> be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
> moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
> a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
> the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]

I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
this is good idiom:

"We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-06-11 14:45:03 UTC
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On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> > Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> > >On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> > >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> > >>
> > >> Is that sentence grammatical?
> > >> Is it idiomatic?
> > >>
> > >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> > >>
> > >> Gratefully,
> > >> Navi
> > >
> > >Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
> > >But this isn't:
> > >
> > >1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> > >
> > In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
> > be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
> > moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
> > a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
> > the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
>
> I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
> this is good idiom:
>
> "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
> while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".

No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-11 14:50:23 UTC
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On 2018-06-11 14:45:03 +0000, Madrigal Gurneyhalt said:

> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>>>
>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical?
>>>>> Is it idiomatic?
>>>>>
>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>>>
>>>>> Gratefully,
>>>>> Navi
>>>>
>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
>>>> But this isn't:
>>>>
>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>>>
>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
>>> be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
>>> moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
>>> a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
>>> the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
>>
>> I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
>> this is good idiom:
>>
>> "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
>> while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
>
> No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
> surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
> it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
> an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.

Harrison seems to think "watch" and "see" are synonyms. As always, his
advice has to be taken with a great deal of caution. Occasionally it is
correct.


--
athel
Harrison Hill
2018-06-11 15:11:59 UTC
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On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> > On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > > In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> > > Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> > > >On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> > > >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> > > >>
> > > >> Is that sentence grammatical?
> > > >> Is it idiomatic?
> > > >>
> > > >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> > > >>
> > > >> Gratefully,
> > > >> Navi
> > > >
> > > >Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
> > > >But this isn't:
> > > >
> > > >1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> > > >
> > > In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
> > > be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
> > > moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
> > > a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
> > > the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
> >
> > I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
> > this is good idiom:
> >
> > "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
> > while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
>
> No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
> surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
> it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
> an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.

You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-11 15:54:02 UTC
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On 2018-06-11 15:11:59 +0000, Harrison Hill said:

> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
>>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical?
>>>>>> Is it idiomatic?
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Gratefully,
>>>>>> Navi
>>>>>
>>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
>>>>> But this isn't:
>>>>>
>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>>>>
>>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
>>>> be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
>>>> moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
>>>> a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
>>>> the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
>>>
>>> I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
>>> this is good idiom:
>>>
>>> "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
>>> while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
>>
>> No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
>> surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
>> it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
>> an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
>
> You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?

You may have watched _him_, but you didn't watch him kissing the girl:
you saw him kissing her while you were watching him.

--
athel
Harrison Hill
2018-06-11 16:45:43 UTC
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On Monday, 11 June 2018 16:54:07 UTC+1, Athel Cornish-Bowden wrote:
> On 2018-06-11 15:11:59 +0000, Harrison Hill said:
>
> > On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
> >> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> >>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
> >>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> >>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> >>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical?
> >>>>>> Is it idiomatic?
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Gratefully,
> >>>>>> Navi
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
> >>>>> But this isn't:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> >>>>>
> >>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
> >>>> be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
> >>>> moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
> >>>> a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
> >>>> the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
> >>>
> >>> I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
> >>> this is good idiom:
> >>>
> >>> "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
> >>> while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
> >>
> >> No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
> >> surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
> >> it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
> >> an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
> >
> > You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?
>
> You may have watched _him_, but you didn't watch him kissing the girl:
> you saw him kissing her while you were watching him.

"I didn't watch him kissing the girl" is poor English?
Ian Jackson
2018-06-11 18:34:42 UTC
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In message <34857b73-3e83-4300-96db-***@googlegroups.com>,
Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>On Monday, 11 June 2018 16:54:07 UTC+1, Athel Cornish-Bowden wrote:
>> On 2018-06-11 15:11:59 +0000, Harrison Hill said:
>>
>> > On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
>> >> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>> >>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
>> >>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>> >>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>> >>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>> >>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical?
>> >>>>>> Is it idiomatic?
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> Gratefully,
>> >>>>>> Navi
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
>> >>>>> But this isn't:
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
>> >>>> be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
>> >>>> moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
>> >>>> a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
>> >>>> the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
>> >>>
>> >>> I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
>> >>> this is good idiom:
>> >>>
>> >>> "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
>> >>> while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
>> >>
>> >> No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
>> >> surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
>> >> it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
>> >> an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
>> >
>> > You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?
>>
>> You may have watched _him_, but you didn't watch him kissing the girl:
>> you saw him kissing her while you were watching him.
>
>"I didn't watch him kissing the girl" is poor English?

Of course it is - but it means that you made a deliberate decision not
to keep the kissers in your field of view.

You might have 'seen' them kissing (for a few moments), but you didn't
continue with the act of 'seeing' them. If you had kept your eyes on
them, you would be 'watching' them

If you kept 'seeing' them kissing, you would have done this on a
succession of individual occasions (not one long occasion). On the other
hand, if you kept watching them kissing, this either could be on one
continuous occasion or a succession of individual (long or short)
occasions.
--
Ian
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-12 06:43:27 UTC
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On 2018-06-11 16:45:43 +0000, Harrison Hill said:

> On Monday, 11 June 2018 16:54:07 UTC+1, Athel Cornish-Bowden wrote:
>> On 2018-06-11 15:11:59 +0000, Harrison Hill said:
>>
>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
>>>>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>>>>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>>>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical?
>>>>>>>> Is it idiomatic?
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Gratefully,
>>>>>>>> Navi
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
>>>>>>> But this isn't:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
>>>>>> be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
>>>>>> moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
>>>>>> a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
>>>>>> the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
>>>>>
>>>>> I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
>>>>> this is good idiom:
>>>>>
>>>>> "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
>>>>> while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
>>>>
>>>> No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
>>>> surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
>>>> it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
>>>> an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
>>>
>>> You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?
>>
>> You may have watched _him_, but you didn't watch him kissing the girl:
>> you saw him kissing her while you were watching him.
>
> "I didn't watch him kissing the girl" is poor English?

It's OK, but it's not what you claimed.


--
athel
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-06-11 16:18:55 UTC
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On Monday, 11 June 2018 16:12:01 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
> > On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> > > On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > > > In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> > > > Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> > > > >On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> > > > >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Is that sentence grammatical?
> > > > >> Is it idiomatic?
> > > > >>
> > > > >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Gratefully,
> > > > >> Navi
> > > > >
> > > > >Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
> > > > >But this isn't:
> > > > >
> > > > >1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> > > > >
> > > > In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
> > > > be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
> > > > moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
> > > > a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
> > > > the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
> > >
> > > I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
> > > this is good idiom:
> > >
> > > "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
> > > while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
> >
> > No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
> > surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
> > it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
> > an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
>
> You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?

I've been surprised by things I've seen while watching. But I've never been
surprised by watching itself. That's the distinction you're missing.
Harrison Hill
2018-06-11 17:05:27 UTC
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On Monday, 11 June 2018 17:18:57 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
> On Monday, 11 June 2018 16:12:01 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> > On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
> > > On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> > > > On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > > > > In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> > > > > Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> > > > > >On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> > > > > >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> > > > > >>
> > > > > >> Is that sentence grammatical?
> > > > > >> Is it idiomatic?
> > > > > >>
> > > > > >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> > > > > >>
> > > > > >> Gratefully,
> > > > > >> Navi
> > > > > >
> > > > > >Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
> > > > > >But this isn't:
> > > > > >
> > > > > >1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> > > > > >
> > > > > In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
> > > > > be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
> > > > > moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
> > > > > a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
> > > > > the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
> > > >
> > > > I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
> > > > this is good idiom:
> > > >
> > > > "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
> > > > while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
> > >
> > > No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
> > > surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
> > > it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
> > > an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
> >
> > You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?
>
> I've been surprised by things I've seen while watching. But I've never been
> surprised by watching itself. That's the distinction you're missing.

"Watching things" have surprised you. You've never been surprised
by "watching things" :)
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-06-11 18:10:58 UTC
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On Monday, 11 June 2018 18:05:31 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> On Monday, 11 June 2018 17:18:57 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
> > On Monday, 11 June 2018 16:12:01 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> > > On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
> > > > On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
> > > > > On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > > > > > In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> > > > > > Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> > > > > > >On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> > > > > > >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> > > > > > >>
> > > > > > >> Is that sentence grammatical?
> > > > > > >> Is it idiomatic?
> > > > > > >>
> > > > > > >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> > > > > > >>
> > > > > > >> Gratefully,
> > > > > > >> Navi
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
> > > > > > >But this isn't:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
> > > > > > be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
> > > > > > moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
> > > > > > a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
> > > > > > the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
> > > > >
> > > > > I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
> > > > > this is good idiom:
> > > > >
> > > > > "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
> > > > > while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
> > > >
> > > > No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
> > > > surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
> > > > it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
> > > > an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
> > >
> > > You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?
> >
> > I've been surprised by things I've seen while watching. But I've never been
> > surprised by watching itself. That's the distinction you're missing.
>
> "Watching things" have surprised you. You've never been surprised
> by "watching things" :)

If that is what you believe me to have said then your comprehension
problems clearly run deeper than even I imagined!
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-12 06:44:14 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2018-06-11 18:10:58 +0000, Madrigal Gurneyhalt said:

> On Monday, 11 June 2018 18:05:31 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 17:18:57 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 16:12:01 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
>>>>>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>>>>>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>>>>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical?
>>>>>>>>> Is it idiomatic?
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Gratefully,
>>>>>>>>> Navi
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
>>>>>>>> But this isn't:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
>>>>>>> be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
>>>>>>> moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
>>>>>>> a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
>>>>>>> the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
>>>>>> this is good idiom:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
>>>>>> while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
>>>>>
>>>>> No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
>>>>> surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
>>>>> it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
>>>>> an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
>>>>
>>>> You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?
>>>
>>> I've been surprised by things I've seen while watching. But I've never been
>>> surprised by watching itself. That's the distinction you're missing.
>>
>> "Watching things" have surprised you. You've never been surprised
>> by "watching things" :)
>
> If that is what you believe me to have said then your comprehension
> problems clearly run deeper than even I imagined!

+1


--
athel
bill van
2018-06-11 18:26:19 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2018-06-11 17:05:27 +0000, Harrison Hill said:

> On Monday, 11 June 2018 17:18:57 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 16:12:01 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:45:06 UTC+1, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 15:33:03 UTC+1, Harrison Hill wrote:
>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 13:29:19 UTC+1, Ian Jackson wrote:
>>>>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>>>>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>>>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical?
>>>>>>>> Is it idiomatic?
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Gratefully,
>>>>>>>> Navi
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
>>>>>>> But this isn't:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see' could
>>>>>> be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only for a
>>>>>> moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is usually
>>>>>> a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see him kissing
>>>>>> the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see what I mean!]
>>>>>
>>>>> I think it is generally a sudden thing that surprises you; but
>>>>> this is good idiom:
>>>>>
>>>>> "We had set up surveillance cameras to see what our son got up to
>>>>> while we were away. I was surprised to watch him clean the room".
>>>>
>>>> No it isn't! "I was surprised to find myself watching ..." or "I was
>>>> surprised to see him cleaning ..." perhaps but as it is originally quoted
>>>> it's simply a non-sequitur. "Watch" is far too deliberate and sustained
>>>> an action to ever be the agent or subject on one's surprise.
>>>
>>> You have never been surprised by things you have watched? Or viewed?
>>
>> I've been surprised by things I've seen while watching. But I've never been
>> surprised by watching itself. That's the distinction you're missing.
>
> "Watching things" have surprised you. You've never been surprised
> by "watching things" :)

Things are watching you, are they?

bill
GordonD
2018-06-12 10:38:20 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 11/06/2018 13:29, Ian Jackson wrote:
> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>
>>> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
>>>
>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>
>>> Gratefully, Navi
>>
>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic. But
>> this isn't:
>>
>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>
> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see'
> could be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only
> for a moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is
> usually a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see
> him kissing the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see
> what I mean!]

Same for 'hear' and 'listen'.

"I heard the couple next door having sex."

"I listened to the couple next door having sex."

First is accidental, second is creepy.
--
Gordon Davie
Edinburgh, Scotland
Harrison Hill
2018-06-12 14:17:32 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tuesday, 12 June 2018 11:38:23 UTC+1, GordonD wrote:
> On 11/06/2018 13:29, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> > Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> >> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> >>>
> >>> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
> >>>
> >>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> >>>
> >>> Gratefully, Navi
> >>
> >> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic. But
> >> this isn't:
> >>
> >> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> >>
> > In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see'
> > could be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only
> > for a moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is
> > usually a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see
> > him kissing the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see
> > what I mean!]
>
> Same for 'hear' and 'listen'.
>
> "I heard the couple next door having sex."
>
> "I listened to the couple next door having sex."
>
> First is accidental, second is creepy.

Or like "see" and "watch" they can be exact synonyms. WIWAL I used
to hear the head-board banging from an adjoining flat, and (to give
my neighbour his due) the banging went on for most of the night.
While I lay there unable to sleep, did I listen to him, or did I
hear him?

"I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl".

Could suggest "I continually watched him while he kissed the girl";
but it might equally well mean "I continually watched him, and when he
suddenly kissed the girl, I was surprised".
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-12 15:16:57 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2018-06-12 14:17:32 +0000, Harrison Hill said:

> On Tuesday, 12 June 2018 11:38:23 UTC+1, GordonD wrote:
>> On 11/06/2018 13:29, Ian Jackson wrote:
>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>>>
>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
>>>>>
>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>>>
>>>>> Gratefully, Navi
>>>>
>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic. But
>>>> this isn't:
>>>>
>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>>>
>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see'
>>> could be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only
>>> for a moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is
>>> usually a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see
>>> him kissing the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see
>>> what I mean!]
>>
>> Same for 'hear' and 'listen'.
>>
>> "I heard the couple next door having sex."
>>
>> "I listened to the couple next door having sex."
>>
>> First is accidental, second is creepy.
>
> Or like "see" and "watch" they can be exact synonyms. WIWAL I used
> to hear the head-board banging from an adjoining flat, and (to give
> my neighbour his due) the banging went on for most of the night.
> While I lay there unable to sleep, did I listen to him, or did I
> hear him?
>
> "I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl".
>
> Could suggest "I continually watched him while he kissed the girl";
> but it might equally well mean "I continually watched him, and when he
> suddenly kissed the girl, I was surprised".

No good.


--
athel
Harrison Hill
2018-06-13 07:26:25 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tuesday, 12 June 2018 16:16:42 UTC+1, Athel Cornish-Bowden wrote:
> On 2018-06-12 14:17:32 +0000, Harrison Hill said:
>
> > On Tuesday, 12 June 2018 11:38:23 UTC+1, GordonD wrote:
> >> On 11/06/2018 13:29, Ian Jackson wrote:
> >>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
> >>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
> >>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
> >>>>>
> >>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Gratefully, Navi
> >>>>
> >>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic. But
> >>>> this isn't:
> >>>>
> >>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
> >>>>
> >>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see'
> >>> could be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only
> >>> for a moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is
> >>> usually a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see
> >>> him kissing the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see
> >>> what I mean!]
> >>
> >> Same for 'hear' and 'listen'.
> >>
> >> "I heard the couple next door having sex."
> >>
> >> "I listened to the couple next door having sex."
> >>
> >> First is accidental, second is creepy.
> >
> > Or like "see" and "watch" they can be exact synonyms. WIWAL I used
> > to hear the head-board banging from an adjoining flat, and (to give
> > my neighbour his due) the banging went on for most of the night.
> > While I lay there unable to sleep, did I listen to him, or did I
> > hear him?
> >
> > "I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl".
> >
> > Could suggest "I continually watched him while he kissed the girl";
> > but it might equally well mean "I continually watched him, and when he
> > suddenly kissed the girl, I was surprised".
>
> No good.

How about: "I watched him score his first goal".
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-13 07:54:48 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2018-06-13 07:26:25 +0000, Harrison Hill said:

> On Tuesday, 12 June 2018 16:16:42 UTC+1, Athel Cornish-Bowden wrote:
>> On 2018-06-12 14:17:32 +0000, Harrison Hill said:
>>
>>> On Tuesday, 12 June 2018 11:38:23 UTC+1, GordonD wrote:
>>>> On 11/06/2018 13:29, Ian Jackson wrote:
>>>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>>>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Gratefully, Navi
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic. But
>>>>>> this isn't:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>>>>>
>>>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see'
>>>>> could be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only
>>>>> for a moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is
>>>>> usually a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see
>>>>> him kissing the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see
>>>>> what I mean!]
>>>>
>>>> Same for 'hear' and 'listen'.
>>>>
>>>> "I heard the couple next door having sex."
>>>>
>>>> "I listened to the couple next door having sex."
>>>>
>>>> First is accidental, second is creepy.
>>>
>>> Or like "see" and "watch" they can be exact synonyms. WIWAL I used
>>> to hear the head-board banging from an adjoining flat, and (to give
>>> my neighbour his due) the banging went on for most of the night.
>>> While I lay there unable to sleep, did I listen to him, or did I
>>> hear him?
>>>
>>> "I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl".
>>>
>>> Could suggest "I continually watched him while he kissed the girl";
>>> but it might equally well mean "I continually watched him, and when he
>>> suddenly kissed the girl, I was surprised".
>>
>> No good.
>
> How about: "I watched him score his first goal".

Not much better, unless the match was fixed and you knew in advance
that he would score.


--
athel
Ian Jackson
2018-06-13 09:01:33 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
In message <***@mid.individual.net>, Athel Cornish-Bowden
<***@imm.cnrs.fr> writes
>On 2018-06-13 07:26:25 +0000, Harrison Hill said:
>
>> On Tuesday, 12 June 2018 16:16:42 UTC+1, Athel Cornish-Bowden wrote:
>>> On 2018-06-12 14:17:32 +0000, Harrison Hill said:
>>>
>>>> On Tuesday, 12 June 2018 11:38:23 UTC+1, GordonD wrote:
>>>>> On 11/06/2018 13:29, Ian Jackson wrote:
>>>>>> In message <13812f3b-09d6-498c-a5eb-***@googlegroups.com>,
>>>>>> Harrison Hill <***@gmail.com> writes
>>>>>>> On Monday, 11 June 2018 03:18:15 UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>>>>>>> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
>>>>>>>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>>>>>>>> Gratefully, Navi
>>>>>>> Yes, no and yes. Your sentence is too unlikely to be idiomatic.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> this isn't:
>>>>>>> 1) I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> In this context, 'watch' is usually a deliberate act, while 'see'
>>>>>> could be either deliberate or accidental. Also, 'see' could be only
>>>>>> for a moment (a short glance, or for a few seconds), while 'watch' is
>>>>>> usually a longer process. So you might initially be surprised to see
>>>>>> him kissing the girl - but then stand there watching. [If you see
>>>>>> what I mean!]
>>>>> Same for 'hear' and 'listen'.
>>>>> "I heard the couple next door having sex."
>>>>> "I listened to the couple next door having sex."
>>>>> First is accidental, second is creepy.
>>>> Or like "see" and "watch" they can be exact synonyms. WIWAL I used
>>>> to hear the head-board banging from an adjoining flat, and (to give
>>>> my neighbour his due) the banging went on for most of the night.
>>>> While I lay there unable to sleep, did I listen to him, or did I
>>>> hear him?
>>>> "I was surprised to watch him kiss the girl".
>>>> Could suggest "I continually watched him while he kissed the
>>>>girl";
>>>> but it might equally well mean "I continually watched him, and when he
>>>> suddenly kissed the girl, I was surprised".
>>> No good.
>> How about: "I watched him score his first goal".
>
>Not much better, unless the match was fixed and you knew in advance
>that he would score.

It doesn't have to be pre-planned. "I watched him score his first goal"
would be OK if you were already watching the match, and during the
watching you saw him scoring his first goal. But it's obvious that
'watching' has the essential ingredient of happening over a period of
time, while 'seeing' often doesn't.
>
>

--
Ian
Don P
2018-06-11 21:09:19 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 10/06/2018 10:18 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:

> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>
> Is that sentence grammatical?
> Is it idiomatic?
>
> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.

1. The sentence is grammatical (by negative proof: it breaks no rule)
and unidiomatic (by positive proof (statistical rarity.))

2. The thesaurus was invented precisely to help us find the right word
in cases like this. My old Penguin Roget offers about 50 verbs cognate
with "watch."

--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Peter Moylan
2018-06-12 00:25:11 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 12/06/18 07:09, Don P wrote:
> On 10/06/2018 10:18 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>
>> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>>
>> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
>>
>> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>
> 1. The sentence is grammatical (by negative proof: it breaks no
> rule) and unidiomatic (by positive proof (statistical rarity.))
>
> 2. The thesaurus was invented precisely to help us find the right
> word in cases like this. My old Penguin Roget offers about 50 verbs
> cognate with "watch."

A thesaurus is useless for what navi wants. It gives us words that
might, in the right circumstances, be acceptable substitutes. What it
does not do is tell us what those circumstances are. For that we have to
rely on our experience with the language.

Most of the time a thesaurus is telling us what we already knew, but
couldn't bring to the forefront of our minds. It's a memory jogger,
useful for someone fluent in the language, but of only limited help to a
non-native speaker.

--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Peter T. Daniels
2018-06-12 02:51:22 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Monday, June 11, 2018 at 8:25:16 PM UTC-4, Peter Moylan wrote:
> On 12/06/18 07:09, Don P wrote:
> > On 10/06/2018 10:18 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:

> >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> >> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
> >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> > 1. The sentence is grammatical (by negative proof: it breaks no
> > rule) and unidiomatic (by positive proof (statistical rarity.))
> > 2. The thesaurus was invented precisely to help us find the right
> > word in cases like this. My old Penguin Roget offers about 50 verbs
> > cognate with "watch."
>
> A thesaurus is useless for what navi wants. It gives us words that
> might, in the right circumstances, be acceptable substitutes. What it
> does not do is tell us what those circumstances are. For that we have to
> rely on our experience with the language.
>
> Most of the time a thesaurus is telling us what we already knew, but
> couldn't bring to the forefront of our minds. It's a memory jogger,
> useful for someone fluent in the language, but of only limited help to a
> non-native speaker.

Well, that's how it's supposed to work. In a really insightless article in
The Atlantic some years ago (it was a summer two-month issue, and the
article was New Yorker length), Simon Winchester brought horror stories
of schoolchildren using words in essays that they had plucked straight
from a thesaurus entry without looking up their meanings.

It read as though Winchester had never read even Roget's Preface to the
original edition, and didn't have the slightest idea of what his purpose
was in compiling the book. And that was why I've never read anything else
Winchester has published -- especially on language, especially the tomes
on the OED.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2018-06-12 08:50:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 19:51:22 -0700 (PDT), "Peter T. Daniels"
<***@verizon.net> wrote:

>On Monday, June 11, 2018 at 8:25:16 PM UTC-4, Peter Moylan wrote:
>> On 12/06/18 07:09, Don P wrote:
>> > On 10/06/2018 10:18 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>
>> >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
>> >> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
>> >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
>> > 1. The sentence is grammatical (by negative proof: it breaks no
>> > rule) and unidiomatic (by positive proof (statistical rarity.))
>> > 2. The thesaurus was invented precisely to help us find the right
>> > word in cases like this. My old Penguin Roget offers about 50 verbs
>> > cognate with "watch."
>>
>> A thesaurus is useless for what navi wants. It gives us words that
>> might, in the right circumstances, be acceptable substitutes. What it
>> does not do is tell us what those circumstances are. For that we have to
>> rely on our experience with the language.
>>
>> Most of the time a thesaurus is telling us what we already knew, but
>> couldn't bring to the forefront of our minds. It's a memory jogger,
>> useful for someone fluent in the language, but of only limited help to a
>> non-native speaker.
>
>Well, that's how it's supposed to work. In a really insightless article in
>The Atlantic some years ago (it was a summer two-month issue, and the
>article was New Yorker length), Simon Winchester brought horror stories
>of schoolchildren using words in essays that they had plucked straight
>from a thesaurus entry without looking up their meanings.
>
>It read as though Winchester had never read even Roget's Preface to the
>original edition, and didn't have the slightest idea of what his purpose
>was in compiling the book. And that was why I've never read anything else
>Winchester has published -- especially on language, especially the tomes
>on the OED.

Is it possible that Winchester knew perfectly well the purpose and
nature of the thesaurus but that the schoolchildren didn't?

--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Peter T. Daniels
2018-06-12 11:37:20 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 4:50:41 AM UTC-4, PeterWD wrote:
> On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 19:51:22 -0700 (PDT), "Peter T. Daniels"
> <***@verizon.net> wrote:
> >On Monday, June 11, 2018 at 8:25:16 PM UTC-4, Peter Moylan wrote:
> >> On 12/06/18 07:09, Don P wrote:
> >> > On 10/06/2018 10:18 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:

> >> >> 1) I was surprised to watch him clean the room.
> >> >> Is that sentence grammatical? Is it idiomatic?
> >> >> I think 'to see' would work, but 'to watch' doesn't.
> >> > 1. The sentence is grammatical (by negative proof: it breaks no
> >> > rule) and unidiomatic (by positive proof (statistical rarity.))
> >> > 2. The thesaurus was invented precisely to help us find the right
> >> > word in cases like this. My old Penguin Roget offers about 50 verbs
> >> > cognate with "watch."
> >> A thesaurus is useless for what navi wants. It gives us words that
> >> might, in the right circumstances, be acceptable substitutes. What it
> >> does not do is tell us what those circumstances are. For that we have to
> >> rely on our experience with the language.
> >> Most of the time a thesaurus is telling us what we already knew, but
> >> couldn't bring to the forefront of our minds. It's a memory jogger,
> >> useful for someone fluent in the language, but of only limited help to a
> >> non-native speaker.
> >Well, that's how it's supposed to work. In a really insightless article in
> >The Atlantic some years ago (it was a summer two-month issue, and the
> >article was New Yorker length), Simon Winchester brought horror stories
> >of schoolchildren using words in essays that they had plucked straight
> >from a thesaurus entry without looking up their meanings.
> >It read as though Winchester had never read even Roget's Preface to the
> >original edition, and didn't have the slightest idea of what his purpose
> >was in compiling the book. And that was why I've never read anything else
> >Winchester has published -- especially on language, especially the tomes
> >on the OED.
>
> Is it possible that Winchester knew perfectly well the purpose and
> nature of the thesaurus but that the schoolchildren didn't?

What Roget's Thesaurus is used for these days (or would be, if any publisher
printed it in its original format) and what Roget's intention was are two
different things. It's not a coincidence that there were exactly 1000
topics in the original!

Winchester in that article did not even acknowledge its usefulness for the
purpose that had developed for it.
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