It Simply Does not Work

“There is no doubt in my mind that democracy in the U.S. style simply does not work in China.”[1] In the sentence, the phrase “simply does not work” has two explanation, one is “does not work absolutely“[2], another is “does not work uncomplicatedly”[3]. In Ref. [3], the author, Yan Ning, translated it to Chinese as “美式民主不能简单地适用于多元化的中国”[3]. However, in American English, the word “simply” means “without ambiguity”[4, see 1a]. So “it simply does not work” means “it does not work absolutely”, in Chinese “它根本行不通”.

In the original sentence, the author, Shi Yigong, said it with a strong tone “no doubt” and “simply does not work”, hence, the word “simply” cannot be explained as “in a simple manner”[5, see 1], but “absolutely”[5, see 3].

1. Shi, Yigong. Writing about China. PAWMarch 7, 2007: Letters. Aug 13, 2008
2. 太蔟. 施一公的“科学精神”(XYS20080813). Aug 13, 2008
3. 颜宁. 方舟子是在哗众取宠,还是无间道? Aug 22, 2008
4. Aug 22, 2008
5. Collins English Dictionary (Desktop Edition). HarperCollins, 2004. p1516

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.