good to drive

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good to drive

Post by azz » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:12 am

Can one say

a. This motorcycle is good to ride on sand.
b. This motorcycle is good for riding on sand.

c. This professor is good to teach advanced courses.
d. This professor is good for teaching advanced courses.

e. Once the wound heals, you'll be fine to play football.
f. Once the wound heals, you'll be fine for playing football.

?

Many thanks.
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Re: good to drive

Post by Phil White » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:33 am

  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. No
  4. No
  5. Yes
  6. Possibly
a and b do not seem to me to mean quite the same thing. b seems to suggest that the motorcycle is specialized for riding on sand. a does not suggest this to the same extent. But it is very subtle.

c and d: Neither construction works in this context. We might say "good at teaching. I think the difference lies in the fact that the skill in teaching lies with the person doing the teaching. In your examples with the motorbike, it is the motorbike that is good, not the rider.

e and f: e is perfectly okay. f sounds very odd to me, although I can imagine somebody saying it. Somehow it sounds slightly negative, as if football is nothing very special or not what you particularly want. I can't quite pin down what is wrong with it.

They are interesting questions and I will give it some more thought.
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: good to drive

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:19 pm

The difference between a) and b) is that a) implies that riding this motorbike on sand is enjoyable, whereas b) implies that the motorbike is well suited for riding on sand.

f) seems to imply that the speaker is having trouble thinking of an activity that the person they are addressing might be good at. The intended meaning would need to be clarified by the context.
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Re: good to drive

Post by Phil White » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:06 pm

Yes. Your comment about a and b is spot on.

f is difficult to put your finger on. It certainly suggests that playing football is not the desired end result, whereas e does suggest that the patient wants to recover quickly in order to play football.

f suggests something like "you'll be fine for playing football, but not much else".

All very peculiar!
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

End of topic.
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