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against global warming

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:58 am
by azz
a. He is against global warming.

Could that mean that he doesn't believe in global warming? He's against the idea of global warming?

Many thanks.

Re: against global warming

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:57 am
by Erik_Kowal
Please supply the context. Without context, your question is impossible to answer definitively.

Re: against global warming

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:58 am
by azz
Thank you so much Erik.

The sentence came up when I was talking in English with my husband, Navi. He intended 'against global warming' to mean 'against the idea that global warming exists' or 'against the idea of global warming'. I said that i was not sure that the sentence could even mean that in the right context. As neither of us is a native speaker, we decided to take the sentence to people who knew what they were doing.

Many thanks.

Re: against global warming

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:33 am
by Erik_Kowal
I think your husband's comment falls into the category we could term "loose speech". As Phil White has recently pointed out in his posting titled Only ever, sometimes an utterance has connotations for the utterer that cause it to mean what the utterer intended it to mean rather than what the words ostensibly denote.

The fact that this is so, and is frequently accepted by listeners who hear such utterances, is something I have heard demonstrated in broadcast interviews where an interviewee mistakenly says something like "It is impossible to underestimate the effects of this disastrous policy" when they should logically have said "overestimate". However, everyone knows what they mean and the interviewee is not challenged on the misspeaking.

Re: against global warming

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:23 am
by Phil White
I don't think you can really use "against" in the context of an established or claimed state of affairs or event.

"*He is against the expanding universe."
"*He is against the resurrection of the body."
"*He is against the Great Flood."
"*He is against evolution."

These are things that you believe happened or are happening, but not things that you can oppose as such.
"Against" would sound very odd in the context you describe. "He does not believe in" would be better in all cases. You could, however, probably use something like "he is against the idea of global warming".