[Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

[Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Kooper » 週六 5月 14, 2011 11:18 pm

1. We're nearly finished, but there are still a few loose ends to be tied up.
2. We're nearly finished, but there are still a few loose ends to tie up.

Are the two sentences both correct?
Kooper
Vice President
 
文章: 2408
註冊時間: 週三 4月 11, 2007 11:40 pm

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Wayne » 週日 5月 15, 2011 11:03 am

Kooper 寫:1. We're nearly finished, but there are still a few loose ends to be tied up.
2. We're nearly finished, but there are still a few loose ends to tie up.

Are the two sentences both correct?


Only the first answer is correct. For the second answer, the subject is the loose end, which cannot execute the action of tying up (something); therefore, such usage should be avoided.

Not that every verb must be used considering whether the subject can execute an action. For example, both "I opened a door" and "the door opened" are correct. One may argue that a door cannot execute the action of opening (itself), but in this case, such usage is allowed. There is no reason or explanation for such usage; perhaps it's been used idiomatically for a long time. If my memory serves me right, such verbs are termed ergative verbs; there are quite a few of them.
最後由 Wayne 於 週一 5月 16, 2011 10:30 am 編輯,總共編輯了 1 次。
Knowledge is power -- when shared.
頭像
Wayne
Member
 
文章: 1500
註冊時間: 週四 5月 13, 2004 10:53 am
來自: Taipei, Taiwan, Pandemonium

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Sherry Liao » 週日 5月 15, 2011 4:32 pm

Dear Wayne,

Thank you for your elaborate explanation. However, it’s a bit confusing to me.

For me, “... loose end to tie up” should not be wrong, for I do have found this usage in articles from time to time. The second sentence looks like “We're nearly finished, but there are still a few loose end (for us) to tie up”. I am not sure about the grammar thing, but the sentence sounds good to me.

On the other, “... loose end to be tied up” is grammatically correct but sounds a little bit awkward to me. I think it’s because I have not seen this usage before (but I am definitely not a big reader.)

Therefore, I made a google search and this is what I found:
“loose end to tie up”: 34100 results.
“loose end to be tied up”: 5880 results.

Now it is really confusing. :?
Sherry Liao
YOYO member
 
文章: 1398
註冊時間: 週五 12月 07, 2007 12:15 pm

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Wayne » 週日 5月 15, 2011 9:05 pm

Sherry Liao 寫:Dear Wayne,

Thank you for your elaborate explanation. However, it’s a bit confusing to me.

For me, “... loose end to tie up” should not be wrong, for I do have found this usage in articles from time to time. The second sentence looks like “We're nearly finished, but there are still a few loose end (for us) to tie up”. I am not sure about the grammar thing, but the sentence sounds good to me.

On the other, “... loose end to be tied up” is grammatically correct but sounds a little bit awkward to me. I think it’s because I have not seen this usage before (but I am definitely not a big reader.)

Therefore, I made a google search and this is what I found:
“loose end to tie up”: 34100 results.
“loose end to be tied up”: 5880 results.

Now it is really confusing. :?



The difference is that in your example, "to tie up finds us to be the executor of the action. Without "us', it sounds that the loose end is going to execute the action.

Finding answers by googling may be a way to obtain yoursolution. However, have you exluded the sites of tw/jp/cn/kr?

Besides, you are not supposed to take words out of context. I have explained that if one uses the pattern of "there is something...", then something will be the subject of the sentence. In your google search, we do not know the structure/pattern of the sentecne nad whether the loose end is the subject of the sentence; therefore, it's difficult to tell whether the usage is correct or not.
Knowledge is power -- when shared.
頭像
Wayne
Member
 
文章: 1500
註冊時間: 週四 5月 13, 2004 10:53 am
來自: Taipei, Taiwan, Pandemonium

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Michael-liu » 週日 5月 15, 2011 11:19 pm

I guess, in this situation, maybe native speakers usually use "We/ He/ You" as the subject of the sentence, instead of "There are..."
That might be the reason why there are more results of "to tie up" in google search, and why it sounds more familiar to us
Michael-liu
YOYO member
 
文章: 529
註冊時間: 週五 4月 24, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Josh » 週一 5月 16, 2011 12:01 am

I'm not sure, but I will choice 2.
Because I will say, there is still a long way to go
and never say, there is still a long way to be gone..
頭像
Josh
Member
 
文章: 85
註冊時間: 週日 4月 24, 2011 4:42 pm

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Kat C » 週一 5月 16, 2011 12:18 am

Great discussion! (Wayne, I think you meant "ergative". But what a great word! :o )

Would it surprise anyone if I said that both sentences work in this case? (Welcome to the ever more flexible world of modern English!) :mrgreen:

Grammatically the first sentence is stronger. The subject in the second clause is clear. You can actually find a similar example in Longman:

"We've nearly finished, but there are still a few loose ends to be tied up."

For the second sentence, there'll be no subject confusion if it goes like this:

"We've nearly finished, but still got a few loose ends to tie up."

But it's also true that the "there + be + N. + to + V." pattern is used all the time, when "for us", "for someone" or "for everybody" is implied to do the action. Example:

"There's a lot to see in New York City."

Nobody says, "there's a lot to be seen in New York City." (The original long form, "there are a lot of things to see in New York City," is less heard too.)

There are also conventions and fixed expressions that come into play, when we have to go with one or the other. Examples:

To do:
"There's a lot to like about..."
There are a lot of people "to blame" for this mistake.
To be done:
"There's much/a lot to be said for..." (something has a lot of advantages)
There are more profits "to be had" from this venture.


For examples like those above, "to do" and "to be done" are not exchangeable. Gee, it can be SO confusing! :shock: But familiarity will surely come as we "do" more English. :D

Kooper, thanks for the question, and everybody, for the input. We're having so much fun learning together!

Kat
頭像
Kat C
Member
 
文章: 328
註冊時間: 週三 9月 08, 2010 10:31 am

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Wayne » 週一 5月 16, 2011 10:52 am

Kat C 寫:Great discussion! (Wayne, I think you meant "ergative". But what a great word! :o )

Would it surprise anyone if I said that both sentences work in this case? (Welcome to the ever more flexible world of modern English!) :mrgreen:

Grammatically the first sentence is stronger. The subject in the second clause is clear. You can actually find a similar example in Longman:

"We've nearly finished, but there are still a few loose ends to be tied up."

For the second sentence, there'll be no subject confusion if it goes like this:

"We've nearly finished, but still got a few loose ends to tie up."

But it's also true that the "there + be + N. + to + V." pattern is used all the time, when "for us", "for someone" or "for everybody" is implied to do the action. Example:

"There's a lot to see in New York City."

Nobody says, "there's a lot to be seen in New York City." (The original long form, "there are a lot of things to see in New York City," is less heard too.)

There are also conventions and fixed expressions that come into play, when we have to go with one or the other. Examples:

To do:
"There's a lot to like about..."
There are a lot of people "to blame" for this mistake.
To be done:
"There's much/a lot to be said for..." (something has a lot of advantages)
There are more profits "to be had" from this venture.


For examples like those above, "to do" and "to be done" are not exchangeable. Gee, it can be SO confusing! :shock: But familiarity will surely come as we "do" more English. :D

Kooper, thanks for the question, and everybody, for the input. We're having so much fun learning together!

Kat

Hi kat, first of all, thanks for correcting my typo of the word "ergative".

It's true that "there + be + N. + to + V." pattern" is used all the time as long as there's no confusion. However, what I meant was there could be awkward situations, which might confuse listeners.

"There's a lot to see in New York City." actually means "There's a lot for us/people to see in New York City." Thus, being self-explained, it ("There's a lot to see in New York City.") is commonly heard. I still think that "there + be + N. + to + V." pattern" -- that is, without ""for us" -- is grammatically incorrect but semantically and colloquially acceptable.

As for the idiom "somebody to blame", I think it is also grammatically incorrect, but it has been that way long enough (積非成是?) so most people understand it, accept the usage, and do not bother to correct it.
Knowledge is power -- when shared.
頭像
Wayne
Member
 
文章: 1500
註冊時間: 週四 5月 13, 2004 10:53 am
來自: Taipei, Taiwan, Pandemonium

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Josh » 週一 5月 16, 2011 1:44 pm

So "There are still a few loose ends to tie up." actually means "There are still a few loose ends for us/people to tie up."

Where is the problem? Sorry.... I am lost....
頭像
Josh
Member
 
文章: 85
註冊時間: 週日 4月 24, 2011 4:42 pm

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Wayne » 週一 5月 16, 2011 2:17 pm

Josh 寫:So "There are still a few loose ends to tie up." actually means "There are still a few loose ends for us/people to tie up."

Where is the problem? Sorry.... I am lost....



There are still a few loose ends to tie up. --> It's the loose end to tie up. (Tie up what? In Longman Dictionary, "tie up" is a transitive verb phrase in all the related idioms.) "For us" is omitted, thus causing the confusion.
There are still a few loose ends for us/people to tie up. --> It's us/people to tie up (the loose ends).

In other words,
People can tie up the loose ends.
The loose ends cannot tie something up.
Knowledge is power -- when shared.
頭像
Wayne
Member
 
文章: 1500
註冊時間: 週四 5月 13, 2004 10:53 am
來自: Taipei, Taiwan, Pandemonium

Re: [Question] "to tie up" or "to be tied up"

文章Josh » 週二 5月 17, 2011 11:37 pm

Thanks a lot.

I'll figure it out later. :D
頭像
Josh
Member
 
文章: 85
註冊時間: 週日 4月 24, 2011 4:42 pm


回到 Previous Questions

誰在線上

正在瀏覽這個版面的使用者:Tbot 和 1 位訪客

cron