I would like to ask you a question.

Some grammarian say that force cannot be used with stative verbs such as like, believe, know and live as in (1).


a. × This forced her to like him better than before.

b. × John forced Harry to know the answer.

But I found a sentence in which force are used with live.

Do you think that this sentence is acceptable? Or is this sentence awkward?


To learn more, CAIR spoke to former internees and organized a trip to the Manzanar National Historic Site. The U.S. government forced 11,070 Japanese-Americans to live in an internment camp at Manzanar during the war, fearing they might collaborate with the Japanese military.

Thank you.
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In my opinion, the expression "to force someone/something to live in/under specified conditions" is perfectly natural.

I even hear it used when a choice is possible:

The parents were forced to live in poverty in order to send their children to college.

There are obviously varying degrees of force.
There is no grammatical reason for this, but there are semantic reasons for it. How could you compel someone to like, know, or believe something?
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Grammar GeekHow could you compel someone to like, know, or believe something?
I completely agree on these three. [Y]

- A.
AnonymousSome grammarians say that force cannot be used with stative verbs such as like, believe, know and live.
In order to understand the true meaning of such a statement, you need to add another condition. force, and other verbs as well, cannot be used with certain other verbs when these verbs have certain meanings. The meaning of live being referenced here is 'to be alive' - not 'to reside'. To understand the import of the grammarians' remark with respect to live, consider speaking to a corpse thus:

Live! If you do not live, I will force you to live!

Does that clarify what the grammarians mean? Emotion: smile

As GG says, it's semantic, not syntactic, so for all practical purposes the grammarians' "rule" is equivalent to "Don't talk nonsense". Certainly you don't need a rule for that.

CalifJimDon't talk nonsense
It seems that any rule can be made to be correct if you add enough "fine print" (footnotes). Emotion: big smile
(But this one is self explanatory. Emotion: nodding)
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Avangiif you add enough "fine print" (footnotes).
I take this as "if you have enough context"!

It's amazing how many "rules" are quoted on this forum that seem wrong in isolation but make perfect sense within the particular lesson in the particular chapter of the particular grammar book they were taken from. Emotion: smile

CalifJimif you have enough context
I'd like to be able to say "You took the words right out of my mouth."
(I didn't intend "fine print" as a pejorative. - Well, maybe a little.)Emotion: wink

- A.
Thank you for your comments.

I understand that force cannot be used with like and believe.

But how about the sentences in (3)?

In this case, your explanation does not explain why the sentences are correct.


a. She had two boyfriends during that time that she said she forced herself to like. I have dated several girls since then and tried to move on, but none of them compares to her. (The Washington Post, May, 3)

b.Apple launched the first gen iPad in India in January almost 10 months after the release in the US which forced many to believe that the Cupertino company is using Indian market to get rid of old stock. (Touch Reviews 2011,4,25)

Thank you.
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