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I use "I've temporarily suspended activity on SOru" in my profile description. And I've thought that it means that "I'm not active on site anymore".

But one guy said that I'm wrong, and told‫‪‫‪​​​​​​​​ me that it means that "someone banned the account".

I've thought that if he is correct there should be passive voice and the sentence will look like "My activity has temporarily been suspended on SOru".

So, what's the correct form?

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    I would've just add "my" before "activity". – Qwertiy Feb 4 at 22:00
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    Possible confusion here can arise because "suspended" can be an adjective as well as a verb.When acting as an adjective, "have" becomes the verb in the sentence. e.g. "I have temporarily suspended ceilings" could also be read two ways. i.e. as a comment on the current state of your ceiling (I possess a suspended ceiling), or on your previous short-term occupation as a ceiling installer (I have been a person who suspended ceilings). Similarly, suspended describes your activity status. But in your case, your intended active verb meaning will be the one that most will agree with. – Michael MacAskill Feb 5 at 10:23
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"I've (I have) [done something]" is used when the speaker is saying that he or she has personally done something. "I've temporarily suspended activity on SOru" means that you, yourself, ceased activity on SOru (it was your action). If somebody or something else made that happen, you could say "I have been suspended on SOru".

Compare:

  • "I've burned my house down." I have personally started a fire in my house which burned it down.

  • "My house has been burned down." Someone or something has started a fire in my house which burned it down.

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    Personally, I would interpret "I have temporarily suspended activity on SOru" as him having suspended all activity on SOru (e.g. in his capacity as admin / king of the universe, whatever), not just his own activity. To my mind, it is necessary to specify whose activity has been suspended: "I have temporarily suspended my activity on SOru". – Alex Feb 4 at 3:43
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    I'm not sure this is a good explanation; it makes it sound like a general rule, but in fact a lot depends on the specific verb. For example, consider "he went to prison", which is in the active voice, but doesn't really imply that he "did" something. It's possible that he was dragged there kicking and screaming, but we can still say he "went". (It's actually synonymous with "he was sent to prison", which uses the passive voice of a different verb.) – ruakh Feb 4 at 6:49
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    Ordinarily, I would interpret "I have suspended activity" as implying volition. I think you are splitting hairs. – Michael Harvey Feb 4 at 17:22
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    @ruakh It seems like you are bringing an issue into this that was never there. "He went to prison" means the subject "went to prison". No implication relevant. "I've [done something]" means you did it, therefore "I've [temporarily suspended activity on my account]" means that you have performed that action, in this case, suspending activity on your account. It is a general rule that when you said "I've [done something]" means that you did do it. OP isn't necessarily saying that he did it of his own freewill; but it does mean that he did it himself. – JMac Feb 4 at 19:04
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    @ruakh I disagree with your interpretation of the question then. Consider his two examples and how they relate to the question in the title. "Does “I've temporarily suspended” mean that I did it?" That is exactly what this answer addresses. It was also accepted as such, so it really does seem to address OP's concern. – JMac Feb 4 at 19:17
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Grammatically you're correct, you're saying that you have done something.

However, your choice of words is unfortunate since suspend and suspension are often used for involuntary suspension too. Taking Wiktionary as a source:

suspend
7. To debar, or cause to withdraw temporarily, from any privilege, from the execution of an office, from the enjoyment of income, etc. to suspend a student from college; to suspend a member of a club

suspension
5. The temporary barring of a person from a workplace, society, etc. pending investigation into alleged misconduct.

Your phrasing is close to something like "[the account] has been temporarily suspended" which would not sound at all unusual in a case where the account had been frozen by the system or its administrator.

You could make your intent clearer with something like "I've temporarily stopped using [this account/service]" or "I don't currently/actively use [this account/service]".

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    Yes, the choice of wording is potentially confusing, though it's not actually ambiguous to someone who understands the words and phrases... because people don't ban themselves. The mean of being banned would be given by "I'm temporarily suspected from SOru" or similar. I agree that this is probably why the person who told the questioner that they were wrong came to that conclusion, though. – SamBC Feb 3 at 18:28
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    @SamBC "because people don't ban themselves" but they do. A "self-ban" can be earned by purposefully, blatantly, and repeatedly violating the site's rules in order to get a ban. It's a "suicide by cop" situation in the user-sphere. Also, there is another point - account parking. Some services offer this - you voluntarily and personally freeze your account for some time. For the duration, your account is suspended preventing any activity on it including automated one. Usually to avoid something like an account deletion if you are away for 6 months or maybe accruing charges. – VLAZ Feb 4 at 7:51
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There is also a possibility that someone might misread "I've temporarily suspended..." as "I'm temporarily suspended..." - I suspect that's what that one guy did.

Although the sentence would be ungrammatical as

I'm temporarily suspended activity on SOru

people's interpretation of what that means might be established before they have finished reading the whole sentence.

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    And when dealing with people whose English is less than perfect there is a considerable tendency to ignore a sentence being ungrammatical. – Loren Pechtel Feb 4 at 3:00
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Active voice:

I've temporarily suspended activity on SOru.

That means you did it yourself. It has the same meaning as:

I've temporarily suspended my own activity on SOru.

Passive voice:

I've been temporarily suspended on SOru.

Someone else did it, but you didn't say who. It has the same meaning as:

I've been temporarily suspended on SOru by someone.

State:

I'm temporarily suspended on SOru.

You are in the state of being suspended. It's not clear who did it. It has the same meaning as:

My activity is temporarily suspended on SOru.

"To suspend" someone is more common than "to suspend" something, and that might account for the confusion too. Your original sentence is fine, because you said what you were suspending (activity).

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    I argue that the first two example in active voice are not equivalent. "I've suspended [something]" can mean that you've stopped [something] in total. In this case that you've stopped activity on SOru. Presumably by being in control of it, thus nobody can use it. "I've suspended my own activity" is a lot more clear that you've not stopped all activity and doesn't imply you have that power. Moreover, "suspend" is technically charged jargon - it's usually used when an account is somehow blocked for some reason. So the first implies changing the account, not just voluntarily ceasing to act. – VLAZ Feb 4 at 7:43
  • It's highly debatable whether "I've temporarily suspended activity on SOru" has the same meaning as "I've temporarily suspended my own activity on SOru." – EJoshuaS Feb 5 at 14:36
  • @EJoshuaS In the context of the OP's question, I don't see how it's highly debatable. – CJ Dennis Feb 5 at 22:04
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I can read your sentence in two ways without really trying too hard, the phrase..

temporarily suspended activity

..can be read both in a verby sense and a nouny sense. The meaning slightly changes when you read it as either one or the other. This isn't something others here have mentioned...

In the verby sense it says what you expect, that you have done something, and that thing you've done is temporarily suspended your active participation.

In the nouny sense, the meaning changes to something akin to "I own some activity that is suspended". This is, imo, why your reader is so convinced that this is what you meant.

The key problem here is that "activity" is both a thing that exists as data on the website, and can also mean your active participation on that website. This is what can confuse the matter. He didn't misread it, he didn't misinterpret, he did fail to realise your intended meaning though. The truth is your sentence has ambiguity because the word "activity" is ambiguous in its definition.

I suspect people here will use a dictionary to prove me wrong, but the fact is that activity is a word commonly used in software circles and can mean more than one thing at once. For example;

"I went to the history page on the website to look at my activity info."

Your activity is both what you've done, and the data contained on the website, very ambiguous...

To answer your actual question, I would either avoid the word activity or give it a better qualification, for example;

"I've temporarily suspended my activity on SOru"

better yet;

"I've temporarily suspended my active participation on SOru"

  • That is true "activity" is also a technically charged word. Same with "suspend" when it comes to online services as mentioned elsewhere. So, the word order is correct but the word choices can each be misinterpreted. – VLAZ Feb 4 at 13:26
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    I don't understand the grammatical structure of "activity" in the way you seem to be implying here. "I've temporarily suspended data contained on the website on SOru". That doesn't really make sense. To me that doesn't imply that he was suspended by someone else either. IMO you need to clear up what meaning you are trying to put to this. I can't make any sense of it. – JMac Feb 4 at 14:28
  • @JMac Perhaps I've can also be ambiguous? In that I have can mean both I own and I did? I tried to be super-clear in the sentences starting with "In the verby sense" and "In the nouny sense". I'm not sure how I could make this more clear? Any suggestions? – Dan Rayson Feb 4 at 14:34
  • @DanRayson That's a very uncommon use of "I've", and really seems like an odd way to interpret that. For example, you don't see the phrase "I've a new car" very often, or "I've a boat that could take us there"; besides in very specific cases (only ones coming to mind are when people try to replicate "sailor speak" and similar dialects). Yet even then, I think "I own temporarily suspended activity on SOru" would be an extremely poor way to word something that makes very little sense. It takes some pretty weird metal loops to interpret it that way IMO. – JMac Feb 4 at 14:41
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    @JMac I absolutely agree that it's a little odd to interpret it that way - The fact that I found myself reading it that way (without much effort) and the OP saying that someone else had interpreted it that way, though, tells me that it's not all that uncommon. "I've some cheese in the fridge" seems very common to me. Of course saying "I own some cheese in the fridge" doesn't make much sense, my intent was to point out that the "I've" can be interpreted to have more than one meaning too, not to indicate that word replacement would work very well. – Dan Rayson Feb 4 at 15:13

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