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He shuddered at the thought of going to the dentist. Options
onsen
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 10:00:34 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/2017
Posts: 1,029
Neurons: 9,849
Hello,

Quote:

A. He shuddered at the thought of going to the dentist.

thought

B. 'Claire smiled at the thought, remembering how they had a fight just the other day.'

thought (NOUN 1)


I rearranged the quoted sentences as shown in the following sentences C and D.

C. At the thought of going to the dentist, he shuddered.

D. At the thought, Claire smiled, remembering how they had a fight just the other day.

Do the above sentences C and D work?


Thank you.
FounDit
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 10:43:26 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 15,755
Neurons: 75,178
onsen wrote:
Hello,

Quote:

A. He shuddered at the thought of going to the dentist.

thought

B. 'Claire smiled at the thought, remembering how they had a fight just the other day.'

thought (NOUN 1)


I rearranged the quoted sentences as shown in the following sentences C and D.

C. At the thought of going to the dentist, he shuddered.

D. At the thought, Claire smiled, remembering how they had a fight just the other day.

Do the above sentences C and D work?


Thank you.

In the first two examples, the focus is on the reaction to the thought, rather than the thought itself. One shudders "at" the thought, and the other, smiles "at" the thought.

But for your reworded sentences to work, a native would normally change "the" to "that". The reason is because when reading these sentences, the sense of them is that there is some thinking going on, many thoughts are being considered. The focus then becomes that one thought and then its reaction. The thinking stops at that point and causes a reaction.

Therefore,

"At that thought of going to the dentist, he shuddered". That thought is one of several, or many thoughts.

"At that thought, Claire smiled, remembering how they had a fight just the other day". It was "that" thought out of others which caused her to smile.
thar
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 11:27:08 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 24,126
Neurons: 97,727
"He shuddered at the thought" is idiomatic. It really only makes sense as the idiom in that order.



But she did literally smile, so that one is fine to change around.

Quote:


shudder
verb [ I ]
UK /ˈʃʌd.ər/ US /ˈʃʌd.ɚ/

C2
to shake suddenly with very small movements because of a very unpleasant thought or feeling:
The sight of so much blood made him shudder.
She shuddered at the thought of kissing him.

When something shudders, it shakes violently and quickly:
I heard a massive explosion and the ground shuddered beneath me.
There was a screech of brakes and the bus shuddered to a halt (= shook violently and stopped).

More examples
She looked up at the grey sky and shuddered.
I still shudder when I think of the risks we took.
She shuddered with horror.
I shudder at the thought of eating the fat on meat.
I don't like to think about getting close to him - it makes me shudder.


You can see the difference between metaphorical shuddering - at eating fatty meat, at the prospect of visiting the dentist, and actual shuddering in various situations.
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