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Life sucks-correct?

English translation: transitive/intransitive

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06:15 Dec 26, 2003
English to English translations [PRO]
English term or phrase: Life sucks-correct?
Someone has pointed out to me that "Life sucks" should in some way be incorrect, and I am now trying to figure out if this is true.

Could it be that since "suck" is an active verb it cannot go together with a concept such as "life", or what...?

Please, hope you can help me out.

P.S. Hope you all had a very pleasant christmas.
PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 19:36
English translation:transitive/intransitive
Explanation:
Please read my comment to William Stein's answear. Other than that, if you are concerned with misused transitive verbs you can always say "life stinks". :)
Selected response from:

Sergio Santoro
Grading comment
Thank you all for helping me out here.
I must apologize for having (apparently) made some answerers deviate from the actual question and post some - to my mind - boarderline inapropriate comments!!! This was never my intention.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +9transitive/intransitiveSergio Santoro
3 +6Yes, it's a very common slang expression
Özden Arıkan
4 +3of course life sucks!
William Stein
5 +2get a helmet
Ildiko Santana
5Yes, it is very commoncendrine marrouat
5Meaning given in Oxford:
Parrot
4find a different expression
R. A. Stegemann


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


16 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
Yes, it's a very common slang expression


Explanation:
See Merriam-Webster Online, Definition 4:

4 slang : to be objectionable or inadequate <our lifestyle sucks -- Playboy> <people who went said it sucked -- H. S. Thompson>

You can find many examples of its usage all over the web. And clicking at the link below you can get to the info page of the book: "Why Your Life Sucks and What You Can Do About It".


    www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/ detail/-/1588720284?v=glance - 80k
Özden Arıkan
Germany
Local time: 19:36
Native speaker of: Native in TurkishTurkish
PRO pts in pair: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  RHELLER: it is correct: life is a singular noun (world, he) 3rd person = sucks but it does not make sense in the classical meaning (aspirates)
10 mins
  -> thank you, Rita

agree  chopra_2002
4 hrs
  -> thank you, langclinic

agree  Bill Greendyk
6 hrs
  -> thank you, Bill

agree  Rahi Moosavi
7 hrs
  -> thank you, Rahi

agree  1964
13 hrs
  -> thank you, Tayfun

agree  Captain Haddock
3147 days
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21 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Yes, it is very common


Explanation:
It is an expression that exists in everyday English, as it should exist in other languages (with different terms used).

cendrine marrouat
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
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28 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
get a helmet


Explanation:
I don't quite see the problem here.. Life sucks, get a helmet - I hear that fairly often! (Mainly on Comedy Central, of course) But even though the verb "suck" is an active one, I don't see why anyone with an active life would have a problem with this phrase.. ;) (Other than the mere fact that it sucks! LOL)

As a reference, let me quote my favorite Denis Leary here:

"Most people think, "Life sucks, and then you die." I disagree. I think, "Life sucks, then you get cancer. Then you go into chemotherapy, you loose all your hair, you feel bad about yourself. Then all of the sudden the cancer goes into remission. You come out, you look good, you feel good, you're going great... All of the sudden you have a stroke, you can't move your right side. And one day you step off the curb at 68th by Lincoln Center and *BANG* you get hit by a bus, and then, maybe, you die."

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Note added at 2003-12-26 06:58:24 (GMT)
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P.S. Strictly speaking, it\'s not an incorrect expression after all, if you think of the origin of the slang term \"suck,\" since it is not really an active verb but stands for \"to be inadequate, displeasing, or of poor quality\" (e.g. final exams suck\").
A quite extensive collection of slang terms can be found here:
http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~wrader/slang/a.html


Ildiko Santana
United States
Local time: 10:36
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 162

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Igor Deschenko
5 hrs

agree  Nado2002: you are right , it sucks most of the time :)
16 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
find a different expression


Explanation:
Sucking is a very pleasurable experience for many people -- both those who suck and those who are sucked. A baby child and its mother are a good example, or at least so it appears from someone who has never suckled a child. The same can likely be said for any pair of lovers depending on the body part in question and their relationship.

As the expression is almost always used in a negative sense, it appears indiscriminate and stupid, like many other slang expressions. Thus, I recommend that you recognize its negative conotation and avoid its use.

Finally, life is a noun that describes a particulary attractive part of existence for the living. If a condition can suck, then suck must be a grammatical substitute for "is bad". As there are plenty of expressions to express badness that are less embued with gender-related, sexual overtones, why not use them. Unless of course, what you and others do while in bed is something that should be made known to others.

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas holiday and are looking forward to a Happy New Year. If not, you might just like to try sucking and find out for yourself, if the expression is worthy of the abuse it suggests. Just make sure that you do it with the right partner, though.

R. A. Stegemann
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 03:36
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 132

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Parrot: So Freud said, but please refrain from personal allusions to the asker.
15 hrs
  -> I did not know that Sigmund and I have so much in common. Was it about the virtues of sucking and being sucked that made you think of Freud, or my suggestion that the asker might want to try sucking?
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5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +9
transitive/intransitive


Explanation:
Please read my comment to William Stein's answear. Other than that, if you are concerned with misused transitive verbs you can always say "life stinks". :)

Sergio Santoro
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian
PRO pts in pair: 4
Grading comment
Thank you all for helping me out here.
I must apologize for having (apparently) made some answerers deviate from the actual question and post some - to my mind - boarderline inapropriate comments!!! This was never my intention.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  NancyLynn: there's your gramatical answer
2 hrs
  -> Oh gee, I wrote answear... I always freak out when I mistype on this site :S

agree  Özden Arıkan: i think this is the grammatical answer PCovs's seeking
3 hrs

agree  Valentina Pecchiar
4 hrs

agree  Peter Linton: Good analysis. But is this not an example of how languages evolve? A normally transitive verb develops a useful if crude intransitive slang form?
5 hrs

agree  RHELLER: it fits here because we are discussing "swearing" :-) To asker: no one ever asks if swearing is grammatically correct - it just IS - and everyone uses it. This whole discussion is way too cerebral imo.
5 hrs
  -> yes, this whole discussion sucks! Sorry, I had to say it.....

agree  Kim Metzger
6 hrs

agree  Laurel Porter: exactly - and excellent point, rita: consider, "What the f*@k do you want?", or the Italian equivalent "Ma che c@zzo vuoi?" - in one case, a random verb and in the other a random noun. They're nongrammatical intensifiers, and they just ARE.
6 hrs

agree  verbis
6 hrs

neutral  William Stein: There are lots of perfectly correct transitive and intransitive uses of "suck", see Webster's.
7 hrs

agree  Nado2002
12 hrs

neutral  R. A. Stegemann: Certainly the word stink is a more appropriate word for describing a condition, but now that William's comment no longer appears, perhaps you could provide a better explanation.
13 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
life sucks-correct?
of course life sucks!


Explanation:
Just kidding. The primary sense of the slang word "suck" here is to "perform fellatio", hence to be in the subservient role, i.e. to be inferior. This is a general rule of such sexual expressions: the insulter is always in the superior position and the insulted person is always in the subservient role.
Therefore, what your friend probably means is either 1) that life cannot actually perform fellatio or 2) that "sucks" is a slang word that shouldn't be used in elegant speech.
The second objection is probably true: the queen would most definitely not say "life sucks". The first objection is specious, since "life" can be personified, as in the personifications: school sucks, that movie sucks, etc.

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Note added at 12 hrs 42 mins (2003-12-26 18:58:11 GMT)
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I don\'t the \"transitive/intransitive\" distinction explains anything, since there are lots of traditional and legitimate meanings of \"suck\" in both categories:

Main Entry: 1suck
Pronunciation: \'s&k
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English suken, from Old English sucan; akin to Old High German sugan to suck, Latin sugere
Date: before 12th century
transitive senses
1 a : to draw (as liquid) into the mouth through a suction force produced by movements of the lips and tongue <sucked milk from his mother\'s breast> b : to draw something from or consume by such movements <suck an orange> <suck a lollipop> c : to apply the mouth to in order to or as if to suck out a liquid <sucked his burned finger>
2 a : to draw by or as if by suction <when a receding wave sucks the sand from under your feet -- Kenneth Brower> <inadvertently sucked into the... intrigue -- Martin Levin> b : to take in and consume by or as if by suction <a vacuum cleaner sucking up dirt> <suck up a few beers> <opponents say that malls suck the life out of downtown areas -- Michael Knight>
intransitive senses
1 : to draw something in by or as if by exerting a suction force; especially : to draw milk from a breast or udder with the mouth
2 : to make a sound or motion associated with or caused by suction <his pipe sucked wetly> <flanks sucked in and out, the long nose resting on his paws -- Virginia Woolf>
3 : to act in an obsequious manner <when they want votes... the candidates come sucking around -- W. G. Hardy> <sucked up to the boss>
4 slang : to be objectionable or inadequate <our lifestyle sucks -- Playboy> <people who went said it sucked -- H. S. Thompson>

William Stein
Costa Rica
Local time: 12:36
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 36

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sergio Santoro: Totally, that's what it is, finally. I was surprised many people use it without knowing the real meaning and what is the object of suction... On a different note, I don't quite agree with the whole role trip about fellatio...
8 mins
  -> I'm not justifying the macho thinking behind those expressions, I'm just explaining them. It's all like converting the person to your sex slave: eat me, suck my dick, f*&^7 you, up yours, etc.

agree  Özden Arıkan: but...if life performs fellatio to me [which technically it can't,i dont have even an umbrella... oh, anyway] then it's in a subservient role to me. however, when i say "life sucks", am i not implying that i'm the one being subservient?
7 hrs
  -> A great philosophical quandry...

agree  xxxsarahl: except with the subservient part.
10 hrs
  -> You guys are dangerous! I'm just explaining the origin of the expression, not making value judgments.
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15 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
life sucks-correct?
Meaning given in Oxford:


Explanation:
N. American, informal: to be very bad, awful, terrible, dreadful, horrible, unpleasant, abhorrent, despicable, contemptible, vile, foul; informal, stink. (I'm quoting).

On that note (as a noun complement by syntax), this meaning cannot be transitive.

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Note added at 15 hrs 49 mins (2003-12-26 22:05:22 GMT)
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P.S.: The example given was, \"your weather sucks\". Weather here is no personification, but the meaning stays. William is quite correct in the reference to fellatio, but what\'s dominant or subordinate in such a relationship may well be value judgement.

Parrot
Spain
Local time: 19:36
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 26

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  R. A. Stegemann: Thank you for the Oxford confirmation to my own earlier entry. I was disappointed that you did not include more about Freud, however.
3 hrs
  -> The debate between Freud and Jung takes up volumes (and I'm rather on Jung's side). It is only accessory to the question, however. I received a complaint yesterday, and now that the question is closed, I have been asked to hide any personal allusions.
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