Archive for July 22, 2010

grammatical expression: I bet…

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Last week, one of my students asked me about the proper way to use the verb “bet”. Of course, we can use this verb in a literal way as in when we are gambling. In these cases, the word “bet” is usually followed by some amount of money. For example:

I bet twenty dollars on one hand of poker, and I lost it.

However, it is more common to use “bet” in the expression “I bet…”. We follow this with a sentence containing a piece of information that we feel very confident about being true, but which we don’t know for certain. This assertion that something is probably true is usually based on some information that we have received through our observation or through logical thinking. For example:

I bet you got really good grades in school.

I bet Sandra Bullock is a nice person in real life.

I bet the mayor is going to be re-elected.

A: My sister just won the lottery. She’s so happy!

B: I bet she is.

So, I use “I bet” in these situations because: I feel confident that you got good grades in school because I’ve observed that you’re an intelligent person; I feel confident that Sandra Bullock is a nice person because she seems nice in interviews on TV; I feel confident that the mayor will be re-elected because I know he’s still popular; I feel confident that my friend’s sister is happy about winning the lottery because it’s logical that anyone would be happy in that situation.

This is a very common expression, so I hope you’ll be confident about using it now.

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