1

"Change" has two definitions that can cause some confusion: 1) Become different. 2) Replace something with a new or different thing. To clarify what I mean, below is an example sentence:

My favourite character changes all the time.

Could potentially be interpreted as either

(1) I discover/find new favourite characters very frequently.

or

(2) My favourite character remains the same, but he/she/it undergoes constant character development.

So if (1) is what I intend to convey how can I word it differently to remove that ambiguity without being overly verbose or clumsy like (1)?

Please suggest alternative sentences.

One last thing, the sentence below is my own effort at tackling this question. Is it grammatically natural/sound? And does it solely denote (1)?

Who my favourite character is changes all the time.

  • Is your sentence ambiguous in the context you use it? – AmE speaker Mar 3 '17 at 15:08
  • Fairly, though I can't recall what context it was. – JUNCINATOR Mar 3 '17 at 15:10
  • So you're not sure if any ambiguity actually arises from using the sentence? – AmE speaker Mar 3 '17 at 15:18
  • It's not easy to say who my favourite character is – it changes all the time. // Superbat has always been my favourite character, even though he seems to change all the time.//// Your suggestion is totally acceptable, conversationally at least. Apart from the stretched usage 'I don't know who you are any more,' it is unambiguous. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 3 '17 at 15:58
  • I feel that the ambiguity is definitely present. Can you suggest any other ways of expressing it Clare? – JUNCINATOR Mar 3 '17 at 17:02
2

It's a matter of making the verb 'change' transitive and receiving an object in case of the second interpretation.

My favourite character changes his/her...(appearance/mood/characteristics etc.) all the time.

  • 'My favourite character changes his character all the time' doesn't sound too hot, one reason being the repetition. But, in fact, one can of course change one's appearance volitionally, but we normally speak of someone's mood / character changing rather than someone changing their mood / character. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 3 '17 at 16:05
  • a- "My favourite character changes his/her...all the time", b- "My favourite character changes all the time". Do sentences 'a' and 'b' mean the same? Does the sentence 'a' not mean the favorite character remains the same? – mahmud koya Mar 3 '17 at 16:05
  • Thanks, but what about the first? If I were lazy and didn't state the objects how can someone tell whether I am trying to convey (1) or (2)? – JUNCINATOR Mar 3 '17 at 17:04
  • @JUNCINATOR: As long as there is no answer to 'what?' (changes what?) in your first sentence, I do not find any difficulty to get the meaning that you frequently change your favorite character. If you think still there is an ambiguity, you have to totally change the sentence something like to : "I change my favorite character all the time" or construct a passive: "My favorite character is changed all the time". – mahmud koya Mar 3 '17 at 17:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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