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Ferry interesting

Mind that apostrophe.
Pheidippides
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Ferry interesting

#216764

Postby Pheidippides » April 23rd, 2019, 10:13 am

A lively debate with my youngest daughter has ended up with me proposing that arbitration resides with this board.

Is it appropriate to use the phrase "ferry yourself" or is ferrying an active process that you can only do to others?

In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. In this process Charon provides a paid service and ferries the dead across these rivers in return for a fee.

The question I'm trying to answer is:

Having ferried the dead across, does Charon ferry himself back" or is he now a "pilot/sailor/driver"?

Regards

Pheid

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Ferry interesting

#216772

Postby UncleEbenezer » April 23rd, 2019, 10:29 am

On what authority is ferrying *necessarily* a paid service? I'd've thought the opposite: whereas commercial ferrying is of course a commercial venture, the word applies equally to a parent ferrying their children/friends around, or to giving a lift to the non-driving adult.

Dod101
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Re: Ferry interesting

#216784

Postby Dod101 » April 23rd, 2019, 11:24 am

To answer the specific question, I would say that the act of 'ferrying' is a service to others, and I would not use the word in connection with taking the ferryboat back across the river simply on a return trip without anyone/thing on board except for the pilot or ferryman. To me at any rate, ferrying needs to have an element of 'delivery' about it as in say ferrying a new aircraft to its owners or ditto a yacht, or of course carrying some cargo to be delivered.

I suppose you could stretch that to taking the ferry back across the Styx, but I would not think that the correct use of the word. However, I am not sure that I could be pedantic about it.

Dod

GoSeigen
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Re: Ferry interesting

#216832

Postby GoSeigen » April 23rd, 2019, 2:38 pm

Pheidippides wrote:Is it appropriate to use the phrase "ferry yourself" or is ferrying an active process that you can only do to others?

In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. In this process Charon provides a paid service and ferries the dead across these rivers in return for a fee.

The question I'm trying to answer is:

Having ferried the dead across, does Charon ferry himself back" or is he now a "pilot/sailor/driver"?


This is not a question of grammar. The grammar is not in question because ferry is a transitive verb and being used as such, even though the object here is the ferryman himself.

As for whether it makes sense, language is remarkably flexible. Personally I think the use is acceptable and understandable; the question is what meaning or nuance would your target listener derive from the use? If you use language which is too weird you might be dismissed as simple or odd. In this case, depending on context, speaking of the ferryman ferrying himself might well sound a bit wry; in any case I think it conveys a different meaning to the plain "he sailed back". If it's not one's intention to create this sort of nuance then the construction is best avoided.


GS

bungeejumper
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Re: Ferry interesting

#216895

Postby bungeejumper » April 23rd, 2019, 8:13 pm

We are really getting quite used to seeing ferries at the bottom of our garden. But maybe that's not surprising, living out here in the Styx as we do. ;)

BJ

marronier
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Re: Ferry interesting

#216998

Postby marronier » April 24th, 2019, 2:28 pm

Surely the verb " to ferry " is transitive in that it needs another object to act upon , rather than reflexive i.e. able to act on oneself. Can commuters ferry themselves to and from work each day?

genou
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Re: Ferry interesting

#217094

Postby genou » April 24th, 2019, 8:40 pm

marronier wrote:Surely the verb " to ferry " is transitive in that it needs another object to act upon , rather than reflexive i.e. able to act on oneself. Can commuters ferry themselves to and from work each day?


But is not this the answer. The boat does not ferry itself back. It needs Charon, the ferryman, to ferry it back. I see Dod's view above, but I disagree; I don't see the difference between ferrying a boat back and ferrying it to the Med ( at least linguistically ).

GoSeigen
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Re: Ferry interesting

#217134

Postby GoSeigen » April 25th, 2019, 5:58 am

marronier wrote:Surely the verb " to ferry " is transitive in that it needs another object to act upon , rather than reflexive i.e. able to act on oneself. Can commuters ferry themselves to and from work each day?


Why not?

A verb can be both transitive and reflexive. In my understanding English does not have proper reflexive verbs -- a verb is given its reflexive quality by using a reflexive pronoun as the object.

...which reminds me of a pet peeve: the widespread abuse of reflexive (and other) pronouns: "myself and my friend went shopping" or "me and my friend went shopping".

GS

GoSeigen
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Re: Ferry interesting

#217136

Postby GoSeigen » April 25th, 2019, 6:41 am

genou wrote:
marronier wrote:Surely the verb " to ferry " is transitive in that it needs another object to act upon , rather than reflexive i.e. able to act on oneself. Can commuters ferry themselves to and from work each day?


But is not this the answer. The boat does not ferry itself back. It needs Charon, the ferryman, to ferry it back. I see Dod's view above, but I disagree; I don't see the difference between ferrying a boat back and ferrying it to the Med ( at least linguistically ).


I think this is a diversion, maybe based on misunderstanding of the word "object" [in bold above]. Marronier is referring to its grammatical meaning; i.e. both he and the OP are discussing the ferryman himself as object, and not a physical object like the ferry.

GS

scotia
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Re: Ferry interesting

#217181

Postby scotia » April 25th, 2019, 10:33 am

Some years ago, a passenger was waiting on a freezing cold morning for the first journey of the day on one of the foot passenger ferries that crossed the Clyde in Glasgow. The crew meanwhile were holed up in their (onshore) hut, partaking of a suitable beverage to drive off the cold. When they eventually issued from their hut, they discovered that their wee boat was now on the other side of the river, along with its passenger. A celebrated case ensued, as the sharpest legal brains attempted to discover how this could possibly have happened. Did the boat ferry itself?

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Ferry interesting

#217186

Postby UncleEbenezer » April 25th, 2019, 10:46 am

scotia wrote:A celebrated case ensued, as the sharpest legal brains attempted to discover how this could possibly have happened. Did the boat ferry itself?

If a case involving sharp legal brains ensued, was the question not resolved by an independent referry of legal matters?

I'll get me coat.

bungeejumper
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Re: Ferry interesting

#217268

Postby bungeejumper » April 25th, 2019, 3:01 pm

UncleEbenezer wrote:If a case involving sharp legal brains ensued, was the question not resolved by an independent referry of legal matters?

You can take the oars to water, but will you make it sink?

Hold the door for me, Uncle E, I'm following right behind you.....

BJ

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Re: Ferry interesting

#238590

Postby brightncheerful » July 23rd, 2019, 9:00 am

"ferry (n) early 15c., "a passage over a river," from the verb or from Old Norse ferju-, in compounds, "passage across water," ultimately from the same Germanic root as ferry (v.). Meaning "place where boats pass over a body of water" is from mid-15c. The sense "boat or raft to convey passengers and goods short distances across a body of water" (1580s) is a shortening of ferry boat (mid-15c.).

"ferry (v.)
Old English ferian "to carry, convey, bring, transport" (in late Old English, especially over water), from Proto-Germanic *farjan "to ferry" (source also of Old Frisian feria "carry, transport," Old Norse ferja "to pass over, to ferry," Gothic farjan "travel by boat"), from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over." Related to fare (v.). Related: Ferried; ferries; ferrying."

(source: https://www.etymonline.com )

I should think 'ferry' involves others. for oneself alone I should use 'convey' or 'carry' even though that makes distinction between ones-self' and one's physical body.


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