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anyone

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:26 am
by navi
1) It is not unusual to be loved by anyone.

That's from a famous Tom Jones song (I am sure you recognize it). The song is called 'It's Not Unusual'.

https://genius.com/Tom-jones-its-not-unusual-lyrics

What does '1' mean?

How about:

2) It is not impossible to be loved by anyone.


In those sentences, does 'anyone' mean 'no matter what person' or 'everyone'?

Gratefully,
Navi

Re: anyone

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:55 am
by Erik_Kowal
You have identified a highly unusual usage of the word "anyone" in the Tom Jones song.

The normal way of expressing the idea would be "It is not unusual to be loved by somebody".

Your guess as to why Gordon Mills & Les Reed worded the lyric thus is as good as mine. The most likely explanation I can think of is that "anyone" is probably easier to sing, and/or flows more pleasingly in the song, than "somebody" or "someone".

If we get rid of the double negative in 2), we end up with the equivalent "It is possible to be loved by anyone."

I'll leave it to you to decide how plausible, accurate or meaningful that is.

Re: anyone

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:46 am
by navi
Thank you very much, Erik,

I think that the meaning they were going for was:

3) There is nobody being loved by whom would be strange.
4) There is nobody whose loving you would be strange.'

I am not even sure that my 'c' and 'd' work either.

Gratefully,
Navi

Re: anyone

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:58 am
by Erik_Kowal
navi wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:46 am
I am not even sure that my 'c' and 'd' work either.
I must be missing something. What 'c' and 'd' are you referring to?

Re: anyone

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:51 am
by navi
Thank you very much, Erik,

No, I messed up. I am sorry. I meant '3' and '4'. I suddenly shifted from numbers to letters.

Here they are:


3) There is nobody being loved by whom would be strange.

4) There is nobody whose loving you would be strange.'

Gratefully,
Navi

Re: anyone

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:15 pm
by Erik_Kowal
Those both sound completely outlandish to my ear. The only native speaker I could imagine torturing the language like that would be a linguistic psychopath.

Re: anyone

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:10 am
by Phil White
It is a song lyric. It is there because it sounds good and fits the metre of the song.

The whole of the first verse is
It's not unusual to be loved by anyone
It's not unusual to have fun with anyone
But when I see you hanging about with anyone
It's not unusual to see me cry, I wanna die

My guess is that the writer got the third line first (which is more conventional in its use of "anyone") and chose to repeat "anyone" for dramatic effect in the song.
It's perfectly normal that someone (else) loves you.
It's perfectly normal that you have some fun with someone (else).
But if I see you spending time with someone else in a rather more romantic context, it really pisses me off.

That's why I don't write lyrics...

Lily Allen puts a similar sentiment rather more robustly:
When you first left me, I was wanting more
But you were fucking that girl next door
What'cha do that for?

...

See, you messed up my mental health
I was quite unwell

It's a song. The sound of the words is equally as important as the meaning - or more so. Chill.