Getting "Fitted" at Leo’s Beach

I watched The Beach tonight. I had ordered it from Netflix, and it had been sitting on top of my DVD player for at least a week. I know that many people scoff at this movie, but several backpackers on the Bootsnall travel forum have said that seeing The Beach had inspired them to travel.

Well, after seeing it, I think that it’s up there with Brokedown Palace at the top of the list of movies that will scare you out of taking that upcoming trip to Thailand.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s character narrated the film, and at one point, he recited the following sentence:

I was the only one with the overview of how it all fitted together.

That sentence jolted me out of my happy movie-coma. Fitted?

It sounded terrible. However, the more I thought about it, the more I doubted myself. It was supposed to be fit, wasn’t it? Or was fitted an appropriate past participle?

I turned to my beloved Google, and found some interesting insights on this page:

Here’s the big picture. Germanic languages each have a handful of verb
pairs (lie, lay; fall, fell) consisting of matched intransitive and transitive
counterparts sharing a common concept. The intransitives are irregular and the
transitives are regular. Transitive means having an noun object without need of
a preposition, as in “fell a tree”.English seems to have only four pairs left,
and the pair shine/shine is iffy.

fit, fit, fit; [irregular and intransitive]
fit, fitted, fitted [regular and transitive]

The other verbs are fall/fell, lie/lay, and shine.

This observant linguist, DaleC, points out that “fitted” is acceptable when referring to an object: fitting a shoe, for example. I fitted the shoe against his foot.

Since Leo was explaining a concept, rather than literally fitting an object, the word should have been fit, not fitted.

(You might be wondering if the screenwriters had intended for Leo’s character to use the word fitted, had intended for him to be incorrect. That might be true in other settings, but in this movie, I don’t think so. Leo spoke slowly, deliberately and with an intellectual air.)

I hope you have a good night.

If you’re in the mood for something weird, put on The Beach. I did enjoy it….but it was one of the stranger movies I’ve seen in recent memory. (If you want to see a truly fantastic film, rent Before Sunset, as long as you have seen Before Sunrise, of course. That movie knocked me over with its greatness.)


13 responses to “Getting "Fitted" at Leo’s Beach

  1. This is slightly unrelated, but I was listening to NPR last night and heard the following conversation (note: not verbatim):

    Guest: I was a moody fourteen-year-old girl.
    Host: Which is a bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it?
    Me: ~sputter~ Not at all.

    Come on, NPR, if you want to use big words at least use them correctly.

    Anyway, after your recent post on ironic, I immediately thought of you when I heard this.

  2. Correct, KA. They meant redundant.

  3. I always wanted to see that show, “The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron.”

  4. Hey! Not cool.

  5. PopularMechanics4BrokenHearts

    Before Sunset is a great suggestion – and while you have to see Before Sunrise before you see it, I prefer it over the first.

  6. Unrelated to this current comment thread, I just read ANOTHER headline that does not make sense:

    “Thanks to Michael Vick, Virginia Tech has a major image problem.”

    I see “thanks” used in this fashion all the time.

    BUT why is headline writer employing “thanks” when the situation is negative and lamentable? It seems to me that “thanks” should be used in a positive sense when something good has happened and deserves recognition.

    Thus, more apt:
    (and can others comment here with more appropriate headline examples?)

    “Vick’s alleged crimes create image problems for Virginia Tech.”

    “Vick’s Sick: Crimes are no misdemeanors for Virginia Tech’s image.”

  7. mighty red pen

    I would disagree. I think the headline writers here are using “thanks” in the other sense of the word, which is “2 : to hold responsible (had only himself to thank for his loss)” (merriam webster) or “To hold responsible; credit: We can thank the parade for this traffic jam.” (american heritage), so that to say “Thanks to Michael Vick” is totally appropriate.

  8. To Mighty Red Pen and others:

    With all due respect, you are totally lucid and wise……BUT it seems odd and weird to state “thanks” for a situation that is unfortunate and not desired.

    For example, would you say:
    Thanks to my husband’s affair, we got divorced………(?)

    Or……Thanks to my shoplifting incident, I’m now in the slammer for 10 years. Gosh, I give thanks to heaven that I made that mistake.

  9. Return to Paradise will scare you away from going to Malaysia. Joaquin Phoenix’s scenes in the end of the movie are heartwrenching.

  10. Oh, yes, while I’m venting and dumping common errors, here’s a verbal one you hear all the time:

    As you touch down in your airplane, the flight attendant says: “We would like to welcome you to Boston (or any other city).”

    Excuse me? Better and sufficient:

    “We welcome you to Boston”

  11. mighty red pen

    Daniel, Lucid & wise — thanks!

    I know it seems weird but it’s because you are thinking of it from the definition of “showing gratitude” rather than “to hold responsible.” So yes, you would say, “Thanks to my husband’s inability to keep his hands off his assistant, we’re now divorced” or “Thanks to my tendency to be a scofflaw, I’m now doing time for shoplifting.” And yeah, it would be correct.

    In a way, they are related. When you thank someone/show them gratitude, you are also acknowledging that they are responsible.

  12. Mighty Red Pen & Others:

    OK, I agree that it may technically be correct to use the word “thanks,” as you suggested, BUT there’s other ways to spin a sentence to avoid this situation. To me, it simply reads weird and is awful and is lazy to use “thanks” in this perspective.

    Would you yourself rephrase a sentence or would you actually be comfortable in writing: “Thanks to my husband’s sleeping around, we’re now divorced”……..? I still think it would be more appropriate to write: “Given my husband’s problems related to fidelity, we’re now divorced.”

  13. If I ever used “thanks to” in a negative context, it would be if I were attempting sarcasm….or maybe trying to make it sound less worse than it actually was.

    Imagine this:

    Me: “Yeah, and life has been good lately, but thanks to my husband’s rampant gambling, we can no longer afford to buy a house….”
    People: *Gasp!*
    Me: “Yeah, it’s okay….”

    I don’t know, I don’t even know if I would ever say something like that!

    In most situations, I would say “due to” or something along those lines.

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