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"Favoring" a leg?

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:28 AM
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Icon5 "Favoring" a leg?


There are some common expressions that have never made sense to me. I don't understand how a clock can be "fast" if it's merely set ahead... surely if it is running fast it will eventually catch up with the real time. So how can you look at a clock and say it's fast? I dunno... my family assures me that it's a simple expression, and I'm just overthinking it.

And I never remember whether "could care less" or "couldn't care less" is right, 'cause neither makes any sense to me.

Today I come to you with a question about "favoring" a leg. Recently, I hurt my left foot, and I've been limping. So which one am I favoring when I walk? Am I favoring the right leg by walking on it and giving it all my weight? Or am I favoring the left one by sparing it from use? I don't see how either case is a sign of favor.

This is probably a simple metaphor that everyone but me gets.

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:36 AM
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A metaphor indeed! But the way you put it it's more like a paradox.
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:41 AM
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Wow, that is an excellent question.
Hmm.
I guess you could be "favoring" your good leg by using it more, or "favoring" your bad one by not using it as much.


edit:

Oh, here. I looked it up.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/favoring

It seems it's the bad leg that's being "favored", ie. "treated gently and carefully".
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:48 AM
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Thanks, Glass_Pinata! I should have looked it up, but it didn't occur to me because I was thinking of the whole phrase, not just one word. In that case, "favoring" is like "babying." I'll keep that in mind until I get it: I hurt my left foot, so I'm favoring it.

It's odd that the word "favor" can be used so differently. Once upon a time, if the monarch gave someone a title or post, it was seen as a mark of favor, despite the fact that it meant extra work for the favored one. But I guess people were just looking at the good parts when they called it favor. When we say "do me a favor," we mean for the other person to do the work!
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:49 AM
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Sort of reminds me of the old George Carlin question;

Why is it we park in a "driveway and drive on a "parkway?" Shouldn't they mean the opposite?

Adding stress to the uninjured limb is not doing it a favor. Taking undue stress away from the injured limb is doing it a favor.

Does being right brained or left brained favor one side or the other and if so which one is favored?

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Old 04-12-2009, 09:08 PM
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How odd--I just hurt my right foot, so I'm now favouring my left...

Ahh! Both admins are down with suspiciously similar identical injuries! What shall we do?

Anyway, that's how I've always taken it, HoiLei. You're "doing your leg a favour" by not using it. Coddling it, treating it nicely, blah blah. I actually never thought about it until now. So, if the legs are people here, the left leg is asking the right one, "Hey, think you could pick up my slack for a while?" Ha, that's an interesting thought. Anthropomorphic legs. Wonder if it's been done.

I actually picked up the meaning when I was younger-- a preteen with an insatiable appetite for James Herriot books. There was a lot of leg-favouring going on in the equine department, so it was always pretty clear-cut by implication. Until now, though, I never thought how it might be construed as the other way around.

I've given this question more thought than it needed, I think.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Winterbite View Post
I've given this question more thought than it needed, I think.
*snort* Only after I did the same! I guess I'm weird in that I see using something as showing it favor... That might be a reflection of my hard-working nature. *preens* Or it could be that I've been confusing "favoring" with "preferring" for all these years.

Two admins down with the same type of injury? Sounds like a conspiracy!
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:49 PM
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It this context it means entirely the opposite of what you're thinking, HoiLei. If we take the word "favour" to mean "care" in this case, you'll find that it makes more sense. So, if you favour your right leg, it means that it's the one hurting and you're putting all your weight on the left one to "favour" or "care for" the right one.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:03 PM
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Thanks! Luckily, my foot is better now, so I'm not obliged to favor it at all. Equal attention for both feet: something my hips thank me for, as they were getting all out of joint from the limping.

I'm glad I understand the phrase now. "Limping" is a great word, but when I really want to say which leg is hurt, I'll know how!
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:01 PM
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By the way, it's really 'couldn't care less'. Saying 'could care less' is just illogical in this context... it's become mostly an American colloquialism, I'm quite certain.
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SW View Post
By the way, it's really 'couldn't care less'. Saying 'could care less' is just illogical in this context... it's become mostly an American colloquialism, I'm quite certain.
That's the thing... which context? If you want to suggest ambivalance, "could care less" is best. You could care less; you could care more... you can't be bothered to passionately like or dislike. But if you want to suggest utter disinterest, "couldn't care less" is best. You care so little that you couldn't possibly care less, even if you tried.

I'll be darned if I can do those calculations in running speech, so I avoid the expression(s?) entirely! And when I hear it, I can't tell which one people mean.

This is what I mean when I say I'm probably overthinking.
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:57 PM
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No, you don't use 'could care less'.

It depends on the situation.

I avoid 'could care less' completely, as it just confuses people.

Besides, it's hardly ever happened to me here in Australia. A bit of research showed its most used in America. Hmm. I was correct, but it's a little strange.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by SW View Post
No, you don't use 'could care less'.

It depends on the situation.
Wait, which one is it? Either "you don't use 'could care less'" or "it depends on the situation," but you can't say both at the same time! Unless "it" refers to something outside your post, that's a contradiction.

I avoid 'could care less' completely, as it just confuses people.
I'm certainly confused!

It's like a syntax class... the closer I look at a given phrase, the less "right" it sounds. Native speaker intuitions go out the window. It gets to the point where "Hi, how are you" sounds alien!
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:59 PM
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No, saying "How were you?" sounds alien. Here in America, we say "How wus you?"
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:22 PM
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No, you don't use it for saying that the situation means nothing to you, so much that you are caring at the 'least' level and thus can't go further.

You can technically use it for saying, for example; "I suppose I could care less" - meaning that you care slightly. But this is really terrible phrasing and confuses people two ways:
- How much do you care? If you could care less, how much? It's an indefinite level that gives insecurity
- Are you just at fault; that you meant 'couldn't care less' and used 'could care less' instead (you said it wrong) or you didn't, in that case they aren't sure.
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Old 04-16-2009, 04:14 AM
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Oh, so it mainly annoys you when people use it wrong, though it's confusing either way!

Yeah, that annoys me too, because I can't process whether I'm hearing the right one or the wrong one fast enough to get anything out of it in conversation. That's why neither one makes any sense to me.
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