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Old 08-08-2017, 01:20 PM
Pino Coluccio Pino Coluccio is offline
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Default Two usage questions

Ciao everyone, just writing with a couple of usage questions if I may. (Apologies if this is the wrong section.)

What is the difference between show up and turn up?

Here's some context...

Waving hi when love _____,
and see you when it leaves.

Shows up or turns up?

Also - lead a life vs live a life.

A life that changes less the more I _____.

Lead it or live it?

A little more context...

My job is like the copier
that copies what I feed it:
days and weeks, a life that changes
less the more I lead it.

Or...

My job is like the copier
that copies what I give it:
days and weeks, a life that changes
less the more I live it.

Are the differences gross and glaring make or break dealbreakers or pretty minor and inconsequential?

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated, ciao for now!
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:39 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Buona sera Pino,

I would say you live a life more than lead it in English.
Show up means you are likely expected. Turn up could be out of the blue.
Is Jim going to show up? Means he was expected. Will Jim turn up? He would just wander by.
That's my take.

Cheers,
John
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:02 PM
Brian Watson Brian Watson is offline
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Yes, in the specific context, "live" sounds much more idiomatic than "lead". I think the distinction is that "lead" is usually paired with a specific type of life, as in "the great mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation", "leading a hand to mouth existence", "he had lead a life of exemplary virtue" etc. But "he lived his entire life in Manchester" is more natural than "he led his entire life in Manchester".

Last edited by Brian Watson; 08-08-2017 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 08-09-2017, 03:01 PM
Pino Coluccio Pino Coluccio is offline
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Thank you John and Brian. What you say makes sense.

You lead or live a (blank) life.
You lead or live a life of (blank).

All other contexts - live not lead.

So lead to say that someone lives a particular kind of life (charmed life, life of crime, etc).

But can you use lead to *imply* that someone lives a particular kind of life without stating what that kind is?

Like, "I regret the life I led back then."

A way of saying, "I regret THE KIND of life I led back then," (presumably a wayward kind).

I long for a life I've never led. (implication is a kind of life)

This life I lead won't get me nowhere. (kind of life)

Can you use lead to imply a kind of life or only when a kind of life is explicitly stated?

I feel like it's precisely this nuance of lead that sometimes makes it better than live.

When you talk about leading a kind of life I feel like it implies agency, implies you could live differently, and implies a value judgement. Whereas live is more neutral in these regards. Or am I out to lunch?

You wouldn't describe a cat as leading a comfortable life but you might say it lived one, because we don't think of cats as agents. Or am I wrong?
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Old 08-09-2017, 03:34 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Pino,

These three choices are all OK I think:

"I regret the life I led back then."

I long for a life I've never led. (implication is a kind of life)

This life I lead won't get me nowhere. (kind of life)

But lead is quite formal so you can't use a double negative with it. Choice #1 is quite natural. Lead may well imply agency, as you suggest: to lead by the nose, to lead on a merry path. I hesitate about the cat though.

Cheers,
John
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:56 PM
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Maryann Corbett Maryann Corbett is offline
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Hi, Pino,

Like others, above, I want love to "show up" rather than "turn up," because if it has enough volition to leave, it must have enough to appear by its own decision, and not just to be found because someone's looking.

About "lead it" versus "live it," my thoughts are more complicated. The version with "feed" and "lead" is much more interesting to me. "Feeding" is a much clearer image, rather metaphorical, so I want you to be able to keep that. And while "lead" may not feel like the most expected usage, it doesn't feel completely off to me; it recalls other idiomatic uses (as others have said); and it's almost a second metaphor--the life is being strung along.

Confusing matters as usual,
Maryann
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:58 AM
Pino Coluccio Pino Coluccio is offline
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Thank you very much John and Maryann. Confusion is a good thing. Personally I like give it-live it. Live to me is a more lyrical, emotional word vs lead which conjures up old white men in suits. Feed and lead I feel draw too much attention to themselves. Give and live being somewhat bland and muted and toned down make the copier stand out more. To me feed and lead seem too earthy and comical. At the end of the day I feel more people refer to living life than leading it, so there's that.

But the poem is going to appear in print as feed and lead, as that's what an editor muscled me into, to my regret. It happens!
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