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In an exercise of the "use of English" appear this sentence: This is to do with big, soft sofas and the idea that if you sit on one, you too can ...... (6) the actors in the American TV comedy "Friends".

You should choose among: a)be b)feel c)join d) contact

According to the book, the correct answer is c) join, but I can´t understand the sense of the sentence. So, I would be grateful if someone here help me.

Thank you all

  • Your text begins at: This is to do with. Question: What is to do with? What comes BEFORE that? Just wondering. I don't really need it to get it. – Lambie May 19 '18 at 16:11
  • In your text, you need a couch to be like an actor from Friends. In the song, the Streets of Laredo, you need an outfit to be a cowboy. Enjoy: youtube.com/watch?v=dCeelWFO56Y Git yourself an outfit and be a cowboy too. – Lambie May 19 '18 at 16:21
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I am a native speaker of U.S. English and was educated at a good prep school and Ivy League universities, but I am not sure what that sentence means. It may be obvious to someone who watches "Friends." I am guessing that one of the recurring jokes on "Friends" is that the characters do little but loll around in very comfortable furniture so if you buy similar furniture you can join the cast in spirit.

EDIT: The verb join has both literal and figurative uses. The literal meaning is to connect two or more things physically. The figurative meanings are about connections that are not physical: such as marriage, join together in holy matrimony. Sitting on a sofa will not make you be an actor in a TV show. Nor will such sitting on a sofa let you feel the actors (if you are weird enough to want to do that).

Connect has both figurative and literal meanings, but in its figurative senses it is usually phrased as connect with. That leaves join as the logical choice. It does not mean that the sentence makes any sense to someone not familiar with the show. In terms of meaning, the sentence should not be on an exam about English. It may be wonderful for an exam on American pop culture of the period.

  • Wow that sound so difficult for a FCE exam, isn´t it?, wich option would you choose? I marked a)... – Jose Spanish May 19 '18 at 14:26
  • It strikes me that the question assumes a great deal of knowledge about American popular culture that is not relevant to knowledge of the English language. Nevertheless, you can deduce that join is the correct word if used figuratively. I shall edit my answer to clarify. – Jeff Morrow May 19 '18 at 14:34
  • Your answer made me laugh, as I have the same background and yet have no trouble understanding it perfectly. By the way, I only saw the show once. Your sentence beginning "I am guessing..." is exactly what it means. – Lambie May 19 '18 at 16:09
  • @ Lambie It's nice to know that I can still guess correctly. At my age, there is little that I can do at all, let alone competently. – Jeff Morrow May 19 '18 at 23:12
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One of the meanings of 'join' is "to come into the company of (someone)", e.g. she joined us for lunch. When watching people on the television, one can be said to be in their company. You often hear announcers on the BBC say things like "Now, let's join Mary Smith at the news desk".

Merriam-Webster

  • It such a metaphorical sense, isn´t it? – Jose Spanish May 19 '18 at 14:29
  • @Michael I do not disagree with your analysis, but the OP's example is of a far more extended usage. If I am watching TV and am told that I am about to join Mary at the news desk, there is a clear physical consequence: I immediately see Mary at the news desk. There is no clear consequence connecting sitting on a sofa and joining some arbitrary group. Sit on a sofa to join the US Senate is grammatical, but it makes no sense. There is also no sense to the OP's example without knowledge of the particular TV show. – Jeff Morrow May 19 '18 at 14:59
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    to join the actors here means to be with them, to be an actor on the show, like they are. All you have to do is have the "right couch". It's tongue and cheek, like "Get yourself an outfit and be a cowboy too" from that song The Streets of Laredo. – Lambie May 19 '18 at 16:16

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