I’d like to introduce you to a frustrating language by showing you some of its phrases.
This morning, as I lay in bed, I decided I had to get up. The up part is clear, but why do I “get” up? Why not just stand up? What exactly do I get when I get up?
I knew it was time to take a shower. But where was I taking the shower? How can I even take it? To take the shower anywhere, I would have to remove it, and my plumbing skills are rudimentary. When I was in college, my roommate was British and laughed at this idea of taking a shower. He would say, “I’m going to have a shower.” I suppose having a shower is easier than taking it, in that you don’t need to remove it to have it. But the dormitory shower wasn’t his, so how could he say he had it?
Look at the last paragraph. I said I would “have to remove it.” Again, having something, but what? How can I have this infinitive? And how does having it indicate what I really meant, which was that I “would need to remove it.” Then I said that having a shower is easier than taking it, “in that” you don’t have to remove it. In that? In what?!
After my shower I heated up some hot water for tea. Why I heated it “up” I can’t tell you. I heated it in a kettle, but even though it was boiling, by and large, it didn’t go up, but stayed right there in the kettle. I suppose the steam went up, but I didn’t heat up steam, I heated up water.
Why did I just say “by and large”? By what exactly? By expresses a relation: A is by B. The rock is by the house. So what two things am I talking about, and which one of these two is large?
What a frustrating language. I don’t know how anyone ever learns it.