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sb could have sworn (that) … Options
onsen
Posted: Saturday, October 28, 2017 11:57:33 PM
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Hello,

swear v
sb could have sworn (that) … used to say that someone was sure about something but now they think they were wrong.
I could have sworn I had my keys.
(from Longman Exams Dictionary)

Why does 'sb could have sworn (that)' mean 'used to say and the rest'?

Thank you
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017 12:07:56 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
'sb could have sworn (that)' does not mean 'used to say and the rest'.

'sb could have sworn (that)' is used when you want to say that someone was sure about something but now they think they were wrong.

'sb could have sworn (that) _____' means "sb was sure about _____ but now thinks it's not true".

"I could have sworn I had my keys" = "I was sure I had my keys, but now I know I don't have them."


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
onsen
Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017 12:17:38 AM
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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
'sb could have sworn (that)' does not mean 'used to say and the rest'.

'sb could have sworn (that)' is used when you want to say that someone was sure about something but now they think they were wrong.

'sb could have sworn (that) _____' means "sb was sure about _____ but now thinks it's not true".

"I could have sworn I had my keys" = "I was sure I had my keys, but now I know I don't have them."


Sorry, I may have embarrassed readers.

The right sentence is:
Why does 'sb could have sworn (that)' mean 'used to say that someone was sure about something but now they think they were wrong'?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017 12:44:48 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 27,131
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi onsen.

That's not a problem. I understood the way you abbreviated the sentence.

However, possibly you did not understand what I was trying to say - I'll try to say it more clearly.

'sb could have sworn (that)' does not mean 'used to say that someone was sure about something but now they think they were wrong'

'sb could have sworn (that)' is used when you want to say "someone was sure about something but now they think they were wrong".

There is no real "why?" - like there is no real reason that 'hello' is used when you want to greet someone.
It is the result of hundreds of years of the language developing.

"Sworn" is the past participle of "to swear", which means "to make a solemn declaration or affirmation by some sacred being or object, as a deity or the Bible".
So, if you swear to something, you say it is definitely true, and you are so certain, you call on a god to witness it.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
whatson
Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017 1:48:04 AM
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
*
Perhaps the problem is caused by the usual
dictionary abbreviation sb - it stands for somebody.

So the Longman line is
"somebody(person) could have sworn (that)" - it means someone was sure about something but ...

(Another abbreviation is sth for something.)



If I were a lame 'un, I wouldn't advertise it.
thar
Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017 2:45:33 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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As Dragon says:


Used to (yoozed to) -
people use/ utilise this expression to say....
[It is] used o say... (Passive verb, truncated)

Not
Used to (yuiced to)- habitually did in the past

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