I was watching a video from youtube. The video was on a hippo picking on a crocodile in a safari park. Tourists were attracted by the rare scene.

A woman noticed birds around murmured this:

Look at all the birds over there. They are almost watching.

I know the meaning of 'almost' but I cannot make sense out of it with this sentence.

To me, there are only two choices for watching action: watch or not watch. What's the 'almost watching'?

  • 3
    I understand it like this: "Look at the birds over there. It's as if they are watching."
    – Istalantar
    Jul 26 '20 at 11:55

That may have been a speech error. The woman may have meant to say, "Look at all the birds over there. It almost looks like they're watching."

  • Do you mean she was too much in a hurry and shortened the sentence she imagined in the improper way? Jul 27 '20 at 0:47

"Almost" is used in this sentence as a way to express "they could watch, but are not (yet) watching", trying to express that the birds would watch, if the event was more exciting.

More examples: "I am almost asleep." "You are almost there." "The speaker was boring, I was almost listening."

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