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I was reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy when I come across a verb that I already don't know.

.... On top of all this she also wanted to go away because she was dreaming of luring her sister kitty , who was supposed to return from abroad in the middle of summer and had been ordered to bath , to stay with her in the country . kitty had written to her from the spa that nothing beckoned (to) her so much as spending the summer together with Dolly in Yergushovo , which for both of them was full of childhood memories.

Having searched this verb in dictionary , I come to understand the meaning of it . but what is still problematic to me is that The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary says that when this verb means to appear very attractive to somebody we haven't to bring **to with it **.In other words, we must say simply 'the prospect of a month without was beckoning her'.

So , my question is why the translator has used this verb with "to" ?
Is this kind of using this verb possible? Has the translator has made a mistake ?

The text is from Anna karenina translated by Joel Carmichael

  • That's a strange use of beckon. Look at all the examples in the Oxford Dictionary definition 1.2 here. – AmE speaker Jul 28 '17 at 1:16
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    To appear very attractive to somebody is to summon them over, to draw them in, to call them or to call out to them. These verbal phrases beckon to a translator to add the to for rounding out the verb beckon. – Yosef Baskin Jul 28 '17 at 4:21
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    NB Karenina, Tolstoy and Kitty should all have a capital letter. – Kate Bunting Jul 28 '17 at 8:16
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The authors of the Macmillan Dictionary used these words to explain the second meaning of beckon:

  1. if something beckons to you, it is very attractive and you feel you have to do something to get it
    A bright future beckoned.

So this may be not as unusual as it would seem. But it is hard to find additional examples of such use.

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Both or either are correct.

"She beckoned me over."

"She beckoned to me to come over."

"She beckoned to me: 'come over'"

  • So.Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary hasn't mentioned it . – kazhvan Jul 27 '17 at 23:27
  • @Pedram The dictionary isn't what defines the language. Who knows why the editors left this out of your dictionary. Nevertheless, "to beckon s.o." or "to beckon to s.o." are both correct though it seems to me with a subtle difference of meaning where without the use of "to", the speaker is suggestion perhaps an expectation that the one beckoned will follow. With "to", that suggestion feels weaker. – A.Ellett Jul 27 '17 at 23:37
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    This answer doesn't address the meaning of beckon that the OP asks about. – AmE speaker Jul 28 '17 at 1:17
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    Allow me. The comment @Clare does not hint that your answer is wrong. It suggests that you expand on it to prove not that you are right but that your answer is authoritative. That is what I see as the goal here. Your examples demonstrate common use, a citing will add a dimension of reference for the OP and others with the question, and an explanation of why your answer stands solid will show it has merit (rather than just telling the OP it's correct, which it is.) – Yosef Baskin Jul 28 '17 at 4:14
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    No, the suggestion is that this answer is irrelevant. Beckon has two meanings, the question is about one of them and this answer is about the other one. – michael.hor257k Jul 28 '17 at 11:52
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The OP asks: The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary says that when this verb means to appear very attractive to somebody we haven't to bring **to with it **.In other words, we must say simply 'the prospect of a month without was beckoning her'. And therefore whether the translation of Tolstoy that says "nothing beckoned (to) her so much as spending the summer together with Dolly"

The OALD entry is:

[intransitive, transitive]

to appear very attractive to somebody

The clear blue sea beckoned.

beckon somebody

The prospect of a month without work was beckoning her.

Since beckon is both transitive and intransitive, either way is fine and there's nothing wrong with the translation of Tolstoy, with or without the "to." An NGram search shows beckon used with a direct object and without one.

Further information:

Beckon can be used in the sense of a gesture to call someone over, or to refer to something that attracts--e.g., space, mountains, in this case spending a summer with someone.

Definition of beckon (MW)

beckoned; beckoning

intransitive verb

1 : to summon or signal typically with a wave or nod My master beckons. He … beckoned to the other generals to come and stand where he stood. — H. >E. Scudder

2 : to appear inviting : attract the frontier beckons

transitive verb

: to beckon to beckoned us over to their table

Travel Advice on Beckoning

From a 2007 book, on the use of gestures.

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    The question (at least as I understand it) is whether to can be used with beckon in the 2nd meaning (to appear inviting). Your answer does not address that. – michael.hor257k Jul 28 '17 at 11:55

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