Re: Final text of GPL v3
Francesco Poli <email@example.com> writes:
> Is "I am afraid it cannot" a definite answer?
> It does not even seem to express certainty...
(I am not a professor of English)
The usage of "I am afraid that <assertion>" in English has changed.
At one point it expressed both uncertainty and anxiety about the
assertion; "I fear that this assertion might be true". Then it was
used euphemistically to be polite about an assertion one *was* certain
about, but felt was bad for the other party so wanted to soften the
statement. Eventually this euphemistic usage became the main
Most native English speakers, I think, would read the above as "Though
I regret the fact, I am certain that <assertion>". To express
uncertainty, it might be clearer to say "I fear that <assertion>" or
"I think that <assertion>".
\ "About four years ago, I was -- no, it was yesterday." -- |
`\ Steven Wright |