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This was part of General Introduction (it's right before the Introduction) of some Wordsworth Classics series,

We strongly advise you to enjoy this book before turning to the Introduction.

What does that mean? I'm little confused.

  1. Since the Introduction is before the actual text, how should I "enjoy" the book? Maybe I didn't get it.

  2. Enjoyment is a rather personal feeling: how could I be advised to enjoy the book?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

People sometimes use "enjoy' as an imperative (command) meaning to use or consume the thing. "Enjoy your lunch" means "go ahead and eat". "Enjoy the movie" means "you may now go in the theater and watch the movie". Etc. (It's always seemed a little presumptuous to me. How do you know that I will enjoy it? Maybe I will do it, but hate every minute of it.)

In this case, "enjoy the book" simply means to read the book. So they are saying that you should read the main text of the book before you read the introduction.

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@J.R.; It certainly is. A waiter who says Enjoy as whe serves your meal is not ipso facto ungrammatical; but he probably is presumptuous (since whether you enjoy it depends on the cook), just as he may be smarmy, unctuous and badly-dressed. –  TimLymington Sep 12 '12 at 17:09
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@TimLymington: I don't see anything inherently wrong with a waiter saying "Enjoy your meal". I understand it not as a "presumptuous command", but rather as "On behalf of all the people working in this establishment, may I just say we all hope you will enjoy your meal". Presumably in your case if he'd come out with the full form you'd probably reply "No, you may not!". –  FumbleFingers Sep 12 '12 at 20:43
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@TimLymington: I always respond, "I will.... if it's good. Enjoy your work." –  David Schwartz Sep 13 '12 at 2:11
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Another stray thought: if you read the book but don't enjoy it, doesn't that mean the introduction-writer is advising you not to read the introduction at all? –  TimLymington Sep 14 '12 at 14:00
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@TimLymington You have to keep re-reading the book until you enjoy it. Then you're allowed to read the introduction. –  Jay Sep 14 '12 at 15:56

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