Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I learned the sentence in bold from the transcript of a podcast in 60-Second Science:

Eysenbach tracked more than 4200 tweets that cited 286 articles in his own journal. Three quarters of articles that got tweeted a lot (or, to use the study’s nomenclature, had a lot of tweetations) turned out to get a lot of citations. Only 7 percent of poorly tweeted pieces wound up highly cited. As the article notes: "Social media activity either increases citations or reflects the underlying qualities of the article that also predict citations." But I predict that young researchers who use social media to the chagrin of their administrators will cite this journal article. Or tweet about it.

I don't understand what is the meaning of "use social media to the chagrin of their administrators". Is there a phrase of the pattern "use something to something"?

share|improve this question
3  
Younger researchers use social media to tweet about their articles. Old-fashioned research administrators do not appreciate these new-fangled tweetations. So the researchers are driving their administrators nuts. –  Kris Feb 21 '12 at 6:10
    
I think it may be the writer simply meant "in defiance of their [I.T.] administrators". But whatever - a more common phrasing with exactly the same meaning is "[much] to the dismay of..." –  FumbleFingers Feb 21 '12 at 13:17
add comment

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

We use:

to the + emotion + of + somebody

or

to + possessive determiner + emotion

to show somebody's emotional response to the sentence. E.g.

To the delight of the spectators, he went on to score another goal.

Our neighbour is learning to play the drums, much to our annoyance.

So, in your example sentence, administrators feel chagrin that young people use social media. It is these young people who will cite the journal article.

share|improve this answer
    
Hmm, that makes sense. Thank you:-) –  Jack Feb 21 '12 at 3:39
1  
our is a possessive determiner; ours is a genitive/possessive pronoun. Very different things. –  tchrist Feb 21 '12 at 3:40
    
Oops! Thanks for pointing that out. –  Pitarou Feb 21 '12 at 4:01
add comment

... young researchers who use social media, to the chagrin of their administrators will cite this journal article.
... young researchers who use social media to the chagrin of their administrators, will cite this journal article.

Above, I added commas to part of the quote in two different ways. The two forms may be recast somewhat as follows:

... young researchers who use social media will cite this journal article to the chagrin of their administrators.
... young researchers who will cite this journal article use social media to the chagrin of their administrators.

Unfortunately the original quote does not have commas in it. The writer could have intended either meaning; it supports both equally well (or equally badly, for that matter). Absent a comma, syntactic patterns don't reveal which meaning was intended.

share|improve this answer
add comment

cha·grin (sh-grn)
A keen feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment

"to the chagrin of" means to cause annoyance or embarassment to

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for your answer. I can understand the meaning of "chagrin". The problem is that I don't know what's the meaning of the phrase "use social media to the chagrin of their administrators". –  Jack Feb 21 '12 at 2:36
    
Chagrin is pronounced /ʃəˈgrɪn/. –  tchrist Feb 21 '12 at 3:41
    
@tchrist - I copied the defn from a US dictionary –  mgb Feb 21 '12 at 4:16
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.