Gabriela Byrne: language and meaning notes
"She was married"
has the same appearance as a passive sentence like
She was fired,
but it is not really a passive because it refers to a condition not an event, and it has no active form.
The active form would be
Someone fired her.
Despite its appearance, the sentence
She was married
should be thought of as grammatically like
She was rich.
She was happy.
In other words, in the text, 'married should be thought of as an adjective, not a past participle.
2 she says
This is a parenthetical sentence placed between commas in the middle of another sentence. It indicates that this is Gabrielas opinion on the subject.
3 too much money to quit
A grammatical structure:
"too + much/many + too + Vb"
"The amount of money she was getting was so large that she was unable to quit."
For practice with this expression: Exercise: PP-1
If someone is upset about something, they feel bad about something that has happened. Being upset means feeling an unpleasant emotion. This emotion is like anger but it is not directed toward another person. This use of 'upset' is a metaphor based on the literal use in sentences like
"Jack was playing carelessly and upset the decoration his mother had put on the table."
As often happens when words are used in both a metaphorical and a literal way, the metaphorical use of 'upset' is much more common than the literal use.
5 almost did quit
Did here is an auxiliary verb. Usually auxiliary verbs are used only in questions and negative statements. They are also used in positive statements, however, when emphasis is required, as is the case here. (The fact that Gabriela almost quit despite the good money she was making is being emphasized because it shows how upset she was.)
A place where beer and other types of alcohol can be bought and drunk. It has a very similar meaning to bar, but pub is more often used for a bigger noisier drinking place and bar for a smaller quieter one. Pub is an abbreviation of public house.
In gambling some of the money the players pay to play is put into a jackpot. The jackpot grows until one of the players is lucky enough to win it. Outside of the world of gambling, the expression, hitting the jackpot is often used to say that someone has been very lucky as in a sentence like When she met that man, she hit the jackpot.
Addictive is the adjectival form of addict (which is used both as a verb and a noun). To say a substance or an activity is addictive means that by taking the substance into their body or participating in the activity a person can become addicted. (Primarily, an addict is someone who has a uncontrollable physical need for a substance, but, secondarily, people who have an uncontrollable psychological need for an activity are also called addicts, for example, sex addicts, chess addicts, TV addicts.)
9 illegal / legalized
These are both forms of the base word legal which means in accordance with the law or not against the law.
Illegal is the negative form, meaning not legal or against the law. (Generally, adjectives beginning with l form their negatives with the prefix il, for example, illiterate, illogical, illegitimate.)
Legalize is the verbal form of legal. Many nouns and some adjectives can be made into verbs by adding the suffix ize, for example, stabilize, standardize, vaporize.
10 price to pay
In this expression, the words pay and price are used metaphorically. No money changes hands. There is no real price or any real paying. But there are similarities between the situation being described and a case where money really is paid for something. In both cases, something has to be given up in order to get something else. The sentence in the text says that society has to give up the some of its security from crime, and some of the happiness of its people, in order to get the taxes that come from legal gambling. Another example:
They had a good time at the party but they had to pay a high price the next day."
11 come out of
Come out of here is a prepositional verb. In other words, the adverb (out) and the preposition (of) that follow the verb are not, here, doing what adverbs and prepositions normally do. Instead they are verb particles. When learning prepositional verbs, it is important to think of all the words in them usually two but often more as all being part of one piece of language and as having one meaning.
Prepositional verbs are followed by prepositional objects. In this sentence the prepositional object is them.
Hook is used metaphorically to speak of someone becoming addicted to something. For example,
Its easier to get hooked on cocaine than on opium.
13 as much as
A grammatical structure. Here it means that the amount of time Gabriela spent gambling every day was less than five hours, or exactly five hours, but never more than five hours.
For practice with this expression: Exercise PP-2
14 less and less time
An example of a grammatical structure using comparative adjectives:
Adj (Comparative) + and + Adj (Comparative).
Im getting more and more interested in grammar.
As time passed she became happier and less happier.
These examples could be translated:
Im becoming increasingly interested in grammar, and
As time passed she became increasingly impatient.
The sentence in the text could be translated as
She spent ever decreasing amounts of time at work.
15 spare time
Spare time is time when you can do what you want to. (It can also be called 'free time.')
As an adjective, spare has a similar meaning to extra, for example: spare change (coins youre willing to give away) or spare tire (an extra tire carried in a car often called a spare).
As a verb, 'spare,' has a similar meaning to to not need or give away,' for example:
She asked him if he had any reading material to spare.
More or less the same thing could be said with either of the following sentences:
"She asked him if he had any reading material he did not need."
"She asked him if he had any reading material to give away."
Spare can also be used as a verb in a different way, to mean not destroy, or kill, or cause pain as in
The attackers decided to spare the lives of their victims, children. or
The library was destroyed, but many valuable books were spared.
16 compulsive gamblers
Compulsive is usually used to modify a noun that refers something someone is forced to do because they are addicted to it. (Other examples: compulsive eating, compulsive shopping, compulsive internet use.) Compulsive has a strongly negative connotation.
It is an adjective based on the verb compel used when a person is forced to do something or has no choice except to do it.
There is another adjective based on compel compelling. This word has a positive connotation. It is often used with reference to arguments, theories or ideas. A compelling argument, for example, is one that is very persuasive.
An urge is a strong, more or less sudden desire to do something.
She had a sudden urge to tell him the truth.
Urge is also used as a verb with the meaning: to strongly advise someone to do something. For example,
He urged her to see a doctor.
The adjectival form, urgent is very common. If something is urgent, then quick action is necessary. For example,
There is an urgent need for more medicine.
The noun form is urgency and the adverb form is urgently.
18 felt she was cured
(a) Felt here simply means 'believed'. It has nothing to do with feeling. In other words, the verb has a very different meaning from its meaning in a sentence like
She felt the cold water on her feet.
In this sentence, feel just means believe. This use is very common.
(b) Here, the object of the verb feel is the noun clause she was cured. This clause is an abbreviated version of that she was cured. The conjunction that has been omitted.
19 she had stopped
The verb here is in the past perfect tense because the action referred to her stopping going to casinos happened before she felt she was cured.
20 go for three months...
An example of the grammatical structure:
go + for + Noun Phrase (period of time) + without + NounPhrase/ ing-form
This structure is used to describe a situation when someone doesnt do something or doesnt have an experience for a period of time.
He went for a week without shaving,
She can go for days without sleeping.
Notice that go does not imply movement in these cases.
21 said shed be back
"She said shed be back."
has the same meaning as
"She said shed return."
Back is an adjective here just as late is in
"She said shed be late,"
but in this case be and back work together to do the job of a verb.
22 took a few minutes
Used in this way, with a noun or noun phrase that refers to a period of time as its object, take means require. For example,
It took all day to get the work done,
It takes an hour to fly from Toronto to Pittsburgh.
This is a very common use of take.
23 keep on playing
Keep on is a two-word verb with the same meaning as continue. It is always complemented by an ing-clause. (Continue is a transitive/intransitive verb that can be complemented by either a ing-clause or by a to-clause. ) In speech and informal writing, keep on is more common, in this context, than continue is. In formal writing, it is usually avoided as are other multi-word verbs.
24 thought of killing herself
Here, when it is complemented by an ing-form think of means consider. The prepositional verb think of has a different meaning when it is complemented by a noun phrase as in
She often thought of that wonderful day.
(This means that the memory of that day often passed through her mind.) The verb has yet another meaning in a sentence like: She never found out what he thought of her. (This means she never found out what his opinion of her was.)
25 tried as hard as she could
The structure: as + adjective/adverb + as is used to show that two things are the same in one way or another. For example, George is as tall as Mary or Mary runs as quickly as Peter. ?
For practice with this expression: Exercise: PP-3
26 the expression on her face.
When we speak of the expression on a persons face (or their facial expression) we are talking about how the way they look, at that moment, shows what they are feeling or thinking.
27 stopped gambling for good
For good simply means permanently. It is a common informal usage, especially when talking about changes in a persons life. The expression does not imply that the change is good.
28 the anti-gambling movement
Movement here refers to a large group of people working together to change society in some way. (For example: the civil-rights movement, the anti-war movement)
29 going through the same things'
Go through used in this way is a synonym for the verb experience. (But the words are not exact synonyms because go through has slightly negative connotations which experience does not have. (It would be wrong to say, for example, that someone went through great joy but correct to say they experienced great joy). 'Go through' is a multi-word, transitive verb.
Materials here refers to written texts, tapes, videos and other things that teachers use with their students in the classroom.
31 got involved in
Get involved here means, begin to participate. Like other two-word-verbs such as get married and get drunk it is grammatically connected to the passive with get. (For example,
The window got broken,
George got robbed.
But despite that connection, it is better to think of it as an active prepositional verb.
Because it is a transitive/intransitive prepositional verb get involved can be used without an object as in I didnt want to get involved. However, when it is used with an object, the object must be preceded by in.
(There is another prepositional verb get involved with which is used when two people are sexually involved with one another. (For example: Jack got involved with Jill.)