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Re: [Lingo] Correct particle to use

On 18/06/07, Josh Glover <> wrote:

Thanks for this. I'll have to discuss it with my wife over coffee [...]

Speaking of which, my wife did remember something interesting from one of her graduate linguistics courses the other day when we were discussing が対を.

This is in relation to the "object が V-たい" construction, but the same
process or nuance might just apply to the V-potential construction
we've been discussing.

There is a case where it is acceptable to say 「コーヒーを飲みたい」 (instead of
the far more common 「コーヒーが飲みたい」). That is when you are de-emphasising
the object, and applying the desire to the entire verb clause. So in
the above case, the -たい is not modifying 飲む as usual, but the clause
「コーヒーを飲む」. The nuance is then "I want to drink coffee" instead of "It
is coffee (and only coffee) that I want to drink."

Because が, as we know, tends to emphasize the thing before it.

I guess it is conceivable to think that this could be at work in the
case of V-potential, but my wife could not remember specifically
studying it, and has not had time to dig out her notes and.

I would argue, however, that in the case of V-potential, the object
should always be emphasized. For example, if we took the above pattern
and applied to to 「本が/を読める」, we would get the following nuanced

が "I can read this book (and only this book)"
を "I can read. (This book.)"

It seems like people almost always make limiting statements about
ability, rather than the more open-ended statement seemingly applied
by を.

So I'll continue to consider を a grammatical error in this case,
because that allows me to sleep at night. ;)



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