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“my tire flattened”

Hi All. Take a look at this if you will:

“And my tire flattened as I was riding it to work this morning. The leak was slow enough that I could limp to work by pumping it up along the way (not recommended procedure, but tolerable for very short distances.)”


Do you, or have you ever, used the expression (my/the tire flattened)?

It expresses an inchoative (bridging or transitional ) event. It focuses on the transition between “tyre is not flat” to “tyre is flat”. But would you, have you ever, or do you, use it?

Other examples:

I liked him within a minute.

The weather changed.

The car rolled down the hill.

My situation changed this morning.

Stevie is ripping his script up. (causative-inchoative)

  • October 6, 2005
  • Posted by m56
  • Filed in Grammar

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mara Oct-7-05 6:31PM

m56 October 8, 2005 @ 3:19AM

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"Flatten" usually means "make flat" or "knock down".
It rarely means "become flat", though I could (barely) imagine describing a musical note as flattening if it became lower.

But I'd never use "flatten" to mean "go flat". A tyre goes flat, but it doesn't flatten.

"I liked him within a minute" seems wrong, but for a different reason -- liking isn't a transition. All your other examples seem both okay and unrelated to the flattening question (except that "ripping his script up" would be better as "ripping up his script").

mpt October 16, 2005 @ 4:09PM

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then, MPT, could a nail flatten my tire?

porsche October 20, 2005 @ 6:32PM

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I've heard "flatten out" or "flattened out" a lot in colloquial usage, but that doesn't make it proper. It's not a rule that every transitive verb describing changing the state of something can be intransitive as well, is it?
For example, you wouldn't usually think of "to cut" meaning to be cut. But it can be said that paper cuts well or cuts roughly. However, is that proper?
A better example: "heightened". I've never heard that used as an intransitive verb, have you?

More examples:
folded (which is proper)
rounded (out)
filled (out or up)
fattened (up)

gandalf December 14, 2005 @ 2:24PM

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