love you so

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love you so

Post by navi » Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:17 pm

1) I don't know why I love you so.

Does that mean:
a) I don't know why I love you the way I do.
or
b) I don't know why I love you so much.

In this case, at the end of the day, the difference is immaterial, I suppose, but the question is whether 'so' can be used instead of 'so much'.

Could
2) I don't know why the police questioned me so.
mean
2a) I don't know why the police questioned me so much.

Gratefully,
Navi
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Re: love you so

Post by tony h » Tue Oct 19, 2021 7:12 pm

I can't answer on the subject of love.

However with
2) I don't know why the police questioned me so.
mean
2a) I don't know why the police questioned me so much.


they bring very different meanings. 2 suggests the line of questioning was puzzling, 2a suggests the questioning took a long time.
They could be written, and taking the focus of the police enquiry being a bank robbery,
2) The police kept asking me what I had had for lunch and what time the post arrived. I don't know why the police questioned me so.
2a) There were others who had seen so much more than I had. I don't know why the police questioned me so much.
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Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: love you so

Post by Phil White » Wed Oct 20, 2021 12:59 am

Nice point, Tony.

I would immediately have said that "... love you so" would almost certainly be understood as "so much", and I think that's probably true.

But in other contexts, such as the police interview you present, the meaning is clearly not "so much".

As so often, the semantics of the construction are clearly determined largely by the pragmatics.

Which leads one to the bizarre, but undoubtedly true, conclusion that in many cases, we can only understand what is meant by something somebody says if we have a considerable understanding of what they might want to say before they actually say it. And the fact is, we rely on this mechanism constantly when we communicate. If I say something to somebody, we make assumptions about what they already know about what we want to say and tailor our words to match those assumptions.
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

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