June 16, 2006

More "Apparently"

Just ran across this at Fametracker:

In Legally Blonde, she...well, we haven't seen it yet. But judging by the trailer, she looks to be the sexed-up caricature of a gold-digging trophy wife who appears (to us) to be but apparently isn't the mother of Reese Witherspoon's Elle Woods.

This makes perfect sense to me. What "appears" is what they judge by watching the trailer only; what is "apparently" true is what they hear. They could have used "appears not to be" for "apparently isn't" if they hadn't already used "appears" in the sentence; but they couldn't use "apparently is" for "appears (to us) to be." I'm not quite sure why this is.

Posted by Matt Weiner at June 16, 2006 08:39 AM

Or perhaps the trailer reveals that we have thought she is Elle's mother but really isn't. If I didn't want to spoil it I would mention a classic eighteenth-century novel, made into a classic movie, in which we are led up (down?) the garden path about the hero's parentage, as a paralllel. Seems like a lot to give away in a trailer. But then that was a lot to get into a sentence.

Posted by: Matt's mom at June 16, 2006 12:03 PM

I think "apparently" usually means "as it turns out"

Posted by: dagger aleph at June 16, 2006 03:25 PM

Do you think "apparently" in adverb form has a more global connotation than other word forms? If something "is apparently X" then it is apparently X to all observers/the generic observer. I don't think I would say something "was apparently X to me," although I might say, "X was apparent to me."

Also, if I did say "X was apparent to me," I think that implies that I still believe X was true. Not necessarily so with "it appeared X to me."

And let the record show that Fametracker's theory about Coolidge's character in Legally Blonde was totally wrong. As I recall she was not a gold-digging trophy wife, but a hairstylist or manicurist whose character arc was to work up the nerve to stand up to her trailer trash ex-husband, and strike up a relationship with the FedEx guy.

Posted by: Richard Mason at June 19, 2006 11:55 PM

On the flight over I saw American Pie, Coolidge's first paradigmatic role according to Fametracker. I enjoyed it. When I saw her name in the credits I thought, "That sounds awfully familiar."

In re the points Richard and †ℵ raise, it's an interesting question whether "apparently" is factive in this usage; "Apparently, Coolidge plays a gold-digging trophy wife, but really she plays a hairstylist" sounds just wrong to me. Which seems to indicate that it is factive. As opposed to "She plays someone who is apparently a gold-digging trophy wife but really a hairstylist" makes perfect sense. Hm.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at June 21, 2006 02:37 AM