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different usages of "well"

English translation: em

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13:56 Dec 20, 2003
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
English term or phrase: different usages of "well"
I need to ascertain different usages of "well". For example, if someone does not understand our point, we generally say, Well, I didn't mean that. This is also used when we have some doubt, Well, are you sure that you can do it.

I think I have explained my requirements. I'll be thankful if you could explain each and every shade of usage of Well.

Thanks in anticipation.
Rajesh
English translation:em
Explanation:
it's often just a more sophisticated and educated-sounding way of saying 'em', e.g. in your two examples above. It gives the speaker a few (milli)seconds to collect his thoughts.

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Note added at 2003-12-20 14:06:33 (GMT)
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well (interjection): used to indicate resumption of discourse or to introduce a remark
Selected response from:

Cilian O'Tuama
Local time: 05:57
Grading comment
Thanks to all of you!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +6See explicationIsabelle DEFEVERE
4 +6em
Cilian O'Tuama
5 +1a hedge, a lexical fillerxxxLia Fail
5 +1see definitions
Graciela Carlyle
4 +2here we go...
Stefanie Sendelbach


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
em


Explanation:
it's often just a more sophisticated and educated-sounding way of saying 'em', e.g. in your two examples above. It gives the speaker a few (milli)seconds to collect his thoughts.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-20 14:06:33 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

well (interjection): used to indicate resumption of discourse or to introduce a remark

Cilian O'Tuama
Local time: 05:57
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 447
Grading comment
Thanks to all of you!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Gayle Wallimann: Yes, it's just a "filler" word
28 mins

agree  NancyLynn
29 mins

agree  Amy Williams: yes
1 hr

agree  Refugio: Yes, we didn't need to copy all the definitions of well as an adverb, adjective, noun, or exclamation.
8 hrs

agree  Gordon Darroch: with Ruth - I thought the whole point of this service was to shine a light through the thicket of dictionary definitions rather than adding to the undergrowth:)
18 hrs
  -> thanks all

agree  Empty Whiskey Glass
2 days 21 hrs
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +6
See explication


Explanation:
well1
adverb (better, best)
1 competently; skilfully.
2 satisfactorily.
3 kindly or favourably.
4 thoroughly, properly or carefully.
5 fully or adequately.
6 intimately o don't know her well.
7 successfully; prosperously.
8 approvingly.
9 attractively.
10 by a long way o well past midnight.
11 justifiably o can't very well ignore him.
12 conceivably; quite possibly o may well be right.
13 understandably o if she objects, as well she may.
14 very much o well worth doing.
15 usually colloq used in combination for emphasis o I'm jolly well going to o I was well pleased!
adj (better, best)
1 healthy.
2 in a satisfactory state.
3 sensible; advisable o would be well to check.
exclamation
1 used enquiringly in expectation of a response or explanation, etc.
2 used variously in conversation, eg to resume a narrative, preface a reply, express surprise, indignation or doubt, etc.
all very well colloq said as an objecting response to a consoling remark: satisfactory or acceptable but only up to a point o It's all very well to criticize.
as well
1 too; in addition.
2 (also just as well) for all the difference it makes o I may as well tell you.
3 (also just as well) a good thing; lucky o It was just as well you came when you did.
as well as ... in addition to ...
be as well to do something to be sensible to do it.
do well out of something to profit from it.
leave or let well alone not to interfere in things that are satisfactory as they are.
mean well to have helpful or kindly intentions.
very well an expression of acceptance in complying with an order or accepting a point, etc.
well and good used to show acceptance of facts or a situation.
well and truly thoroughly; completely.
well away
1 making rapid progress; far away.
2 colloq drunk or asleep, etc.
well done! an expression used to congratulate someone on an achievement, etc.
well enough satisfactory within limits.
well off
1 wealthy; financially comfortable.
2 fortunate; successful.
well out of something colloq fortunate to be free of it.
well up in something colloq having a thorough knowledge of it.
well, well expressing surprise.
well worth something definitely worth it.
[Anglo-Saxon wel.]

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Note added at 2003-12-20 14:09:04 (GMT)
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Source: Harrap\'s

Isabelle DEFEVERE
Spain
Local time: 05:57
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench, Native in SpanishSpanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Graciela Carlyle
2 mins
  -> Gracias Graciela

agree  Arianna Tremayne: very good and complete
13 mins
  -> Thank you Arianna

agree  Dorota Cooper
32 mins
  -> Thank you Youngling

agree  David Moore: ....er...."Explication"????....Thought this was E-E....but a super definition!
37 mins
  -> Thank you very much, David

agree  Patricia Baldwin: absolutely perfect!
8 hrs
  -> Thank you, Patricia

agree  Empty Whiskey Glass
2 days 21 hrs
  -> Thank you
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
different usages of
see definitions


Explanation:
here you have some definitions...

well (Babylon English-English)
v. gush, flow, stream; rise to the surface and issue forth (water, tears, etc.); be collected (e.g. about water)
adv. excellently, in a good manner; appropriately, properly; significantly; in good spirit; fairly
adj. healthy; good; satisfying; correct; in a good state; all right, in order interj. so; alright; O.K.
n. water hole; spring; source; reservoir; cavity; compartment (Nautical)
n. good, well-being

a search on Merriam-Webster's site or any big dictionary would clarify


    Reference: http://www.babylon.com
    Reference: http://www.merriam-webster.com
Graciela Carlyle
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:57
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Iolanta Vlaykova Paneva
2 mins
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8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
different usages of
here we go...


Explanation:
... well can be used if you hesitate in your talking. You talk and have to think for a moment. In this situation, you can say well... to fill up the silence.

... well is also the adverb of good. "He is doing well" or "He speaks English well" are only two examples.

... well can also be used if you reconsider something and come to another conclusion: "This is expensive! ...well, if you consider all the effort made, the price is actually ok."

... I think there are many more usages of this word. Generally, I'd say it is mostly an "empty" word, means it mostly has no meaning at all.

Stefanie Sendelbach
Germany
Local time: 05:57
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 41

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  NancyLynn
26 mins

agree  Gordon Darroch
18 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
a hedge, a lexical filler


Explanation:
It seems from your question that you are concerned with the 'hedging' sense of the word 'well'.

Just to add this contribution to the adequate explanations by Cillian & Isabelle above, it occurs as a form of 'linguistic hedging' and is typical of spoken speech, implying hesitancy (e.g. to avoid being too abrupt in a rejection or denial), or that someone is collecting their thoughts.

It therefore has no real mneaning but acts as a speech 'oiler'or lexical filler (see extract below)


http://www.cels.bham.ac.uk/resources/essays/Fumie6.pdf

3.2Methods for analysis3.2.1Analysis for linguistic features
The analysis was performed based mainly on the linguistic features listed below..... Lexical hedges or fillers (e.g. you know, sort of, well, you see)****(2) Tag questions (e.g. "she's very nice, isn't she?")(3) Intensifiers (e.g. just and so, such as "I like him so much.")(4) 'Superpolite' forms (e.g. indirect requests, euphemisms)-6-(5) Direct requests or imperatives(6) Emphatic stress (e.g. "it was a BRILLIANT performance.")(7) 'Empty' adjectives (e.g. divine, charming, cute)(8) Precise colour terms (e.g. magenta, aquamarine), 'hypercorrect' grammar(e.g. consistent use of standard verb forms) and avoidance of strong swear words (e.g. fudge, my goodness).

xxxLia Fail
Spain
Local time: 05:57
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 86

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Refugio
1 day 2 hrs
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