drives the road

momo   Friday, March 12, 2004, 11:03 GMT
Hello everybody,

I'm a Japanese learning the English language. What I would like to ask you here is about usage of the verb "drive". I know "drive" is a transitive verb and can be used like:
He drives the car everyday.

But I found sometimes sentences like:
He drives the road everyday.
Do you think this sentence is grammatical?

One more question. If the sentence is good, how about the sentence as follows?
The road drives best from north.

Thank you in advance.
Adam   Friday, March 12, 2004, 11:57 GMT
I think that's wrong. You can say "He drives ON the road everyday."

"The road drives best from north" is wrong and it makes no sense.
Peri   Friday, March 12, 2004, 14:15 GMT
I agree with Adam. Is it true that Brits say "in the street"? im from canada and i think we normally say "on the street".

also note there's another meaning to the word "drive" like in the sentence "He drives me crazy." the thing is that the verb "drive" essentially means "to make move."
Chilli   Friday, March 12, 2004, 19:40 GMT
Peri, we do say in the street (but *on* the road). We like to live on the edge.

Momo, the trouble is you have hit a phrase that has a funky name and I can't remember what it is. Let me think...

Okay forget it. Let me try and describe it instead: It's like when you say "I drank the bottle." Honestly, you probably did not drink the bottle. You drank the contents of it.

Or if you said, "it was a sad day." The day wasn't sad. It was probably the events surrounding the day that were sad. (I wish I could remember the name for this - it's a h- something, I'm sure.)

"He drives the road every day" makes sense, and if you hung out around a truck stop long enough you would probably hear it in use, but if you wrote it out in a letter or a document it would be noticed. Then again, saying "it was a sleepless night" would not be noticed. Tell me if this even remotely helped. I'm not sure it will.
momo   Saturday, March 13, 2004, 04:03 GMT
Thank you all for your kind comments. "He drives the road everyday" is a wrong sentence. To drive is to move something. OK, now I understand them. By the way my dictionary says all of three sentences below are possible for the verb "cut". I'm wondering why so.
(1) John cut bread.
(2) That bread cuts easily.
(3) This knife cuts badly.
The subjects of these sentences are different in nature or characteristics. John in (1) is the agent of the action "cutting". That bread in (2) is the object of "cutting". This knife in (3) is the tool of "cutting". Why can things so different be subjects of one single verb? Could anyone explain this?
Peri   Saturday, March 13, 2004, 09:29 GMT
momo, the word "cut" is not the only verb that has this strange nature... look at some other examples.

(1) I look at her.
(2) She looks young.

(1) They sell some rare books at the bookstore near the station.
(2) This book is selling well.

(1) I've tasted it once, and I hated it.
(2) This tastes bad.

for all these verbs, two different usages are possible. so... maybe this stays true for many other english verbs.

chilli, thanks for your answer. so you say "in the street" and "on the road"... so how does the following sentence sound to you?

The bookstore is on the street 3 blocks away from here.
Chilli   Saturday, March 13, 2004, 19:31 GMT
I couldn't sleep until I looked that word up last night; which, incidentally, was 'hypallage', although on having read about it a bit more I'm not so sure now if it shouldn't be 'catachresis'. Anyway, forget about that.

This: >>The bookstore is on the street 3 blocks away from here<< is perfectly acceptable to me.

With regards to the verbs, the best I can help with is that -s can indicate either tense or person or both, for example:
> I jump quickly (first person)
> You jump quickly (second person)
> S/he jumps quickly (third person)

*Generally* speaking, you could replace 'jump' with 'dance' or 'walk' or 'labour' or 'smirk' or 'laugh' etc. and if you kept adding an -s it would still work perfectly well. But then you get irregular verbs like 'cry' and 'cries', or 'ran' and 'run'.

Perhaps someone else might know more?
momo   Sunday, March 14, 2004, 03:09 GMT
Peri. Thank you for your reply. Yes, some English verbs sound to me very weird. This annoys me very much because I have to be careful in catching what the verb means. Even the sentences of the same construction have different meanings in different contexts. Look the examples.
(1) The terrorists are very cruel. They kill easily.
(2) The chickens taste good. Furthermore they kill easily.
In the sentence (1) "they" are the agents of killing. In (2) "they" are the sufferers of killing. So the meanings of the verb "kill" are almost contrary. I'm wondering why you can keep such contradicted usages for the same verb.
Boy   Sunday, March 14, 2004, 03:19 GMT
(2) The chickens taste good. Furthermore they are killed easily.

Is the above sentence correct?

momo, which dic are you using?
momo   Sunday, March 14, 2004, 04:08 GMT
Hi, Boy. I'm glad you ask the question. I found the sentence in the paper below. It deals with so called "middle construction". If you're interested, please read it.
Chilli   Sunday, March 14, 2004, 17:26 GMT
(2) is probably technically correct but it could be taken two ways: chickens are killers, or chickens die easily. Because it's ambiguous it would probably be avoided.

The idea of killer chickens scares me.
momo   Monday, March 15, 2004, 08:15 GMT
Chilli. Thanks

I myself didn't understand how to use the middle construction. As you said I'll avoid to say "The chickens kill easily". Maybe I'll say "The chickens are easy to kill" instead.

By the way do you know bird we are actually scared of killer chickens? We are afraid of bird flu getting widespread in East Asia.
Chilli   Monday, March 15, 2004, 11:55 GMT
I had heard something on the news about chickens carrying a virus and that it was causing mayhem over in the East. Are you still having problems with it now?
momo   Monday, March 15, 2004, 20:34 GMT
Yeah the chicken flu is being a big problem in East Asia. Last week 100,000 chickens were killed in Kyoto and Osaka to prevent the spread of the disease, and a chicken farm owner killed himself becase he was blamed for the delay in reporting the occurence of the disease in his farm. Now our protein food is limited to pork and fish. The government is banning the import of beef from US because of the BSE problem. If this situation lasts long, many Japanese will become vegetarians.
Chilli   Tuesday, March 16, 2004, 10:19 GMT
I'm sorry. I remember how crappy it was here when we had the BSE outbreak. There were a lot of very unhappy farmers and lots of people trying to blame lots of other people for the whole affair. We actually had the military in our bneighbourhood making us drive our cars through sanitising washes every day.

I hope everything gets better soon, and look on the bright side. Even if you're a vegetarian chesse should still be on the menu, right? (If there is ever a great cheese disease, I will throw myself off a building.)