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"Those who have suffered a lot in life and thought deeply have come to see how chaotic the world is, and those who have lived simply and peacefully have come to see how beautiful the world is."

— Ahsanul Irfan

Does it mean "Those who have suffered a lot in life and thought deeply have seen how chaotic the world is, and those who have lived simply and peacefully have seen how beautiful the world is."

I don't think that in the quote "come to see" means "they were born for the purpose of seeing"

Am I right?

And I want to know if the quote is correctly written.

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  • Is this your writing? We don't correct text here.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 16 at 1:56

2 Answers 2

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When you come to be/do X, it implies that you weren't X or didn't do X before, but that now you are X or do do X.

This is a usage of definition 4a of the verb come, listed in https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/come:

: to have or form an opinion, attitude, etc., after time passes — followed by to + verb

I didn't like him at first, but I eventually came to regard him as a friend.

He has come to be considered one of the leading candidates for the job.

...

In your quoted text, the phrase means that the people in the first circumstance (those that have suffered and thought deeply) did not see how chaotic the world is, but now they do. So, to say "they have come to see how chaotic the world is" is a statement of that progression.

As the dictionary shows, you can form this statement with "come to + verb" and use it with other actions, opinions, states of being (using the verb phrase to be X), abilities, etc., that were not present before but are present now.

Example 1, with the verb phrase "to be able to play tennis":

  • (Last year, I was not able to play tennis very well.)

  • (This year, I practiced and played tennis on a regular basis.)

  • I have come to be able to play tennis better than before.

Example 2, with the verb phrase "to work overtime":

  • (Last year, I did not work overtime very often.)

  • (This year, I had a lot of extra work, and I often had to work overtime.)

  • I have come to work overtime much more than before.

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  • Thank you. Are all the sentences of the quote correct? Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 13:30
  • In your quotation, you say "they have seen how chaotic the world is", which is correct grammatically and a very fine sentence, but that formulation no longer supplies the meaning or implication of "they didn't see it that way before but now they do". In the original quotation, it says "they have come to see how chaotic the world is". "Have come to see" or "came to see" in the original quote are the key words that give you the impression of change -- i.e. beforehand, they didn't see it as chaotic, but now (because of their experience), they do see it that way.
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 13:33
  • So both the original quote and your interpreted version (the one you quoted again below) are correct and plausible. However, the "have come to see" original one gives that additional flavour of change to the sentence. If I were publishing it myself, I'd probably pick first one as the one I would publish, since that element seems important to the message being communicated.
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 13:38
  • When you just say "they have seen how chaotic the world is", that formulation emphasizes the past experience only (the experience of seeing how chaotic the world is), and it doesn't consider the change in experience. So, if you want to emphasize just that aspect (i.e. just the experience of seeing the world as chaotic), then you should prefer that version instead.
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 13:39
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No, it doesn't mean 'be born for the purpose of seeing', it means that they have reached a situation where they 'see' the world in a certain way.

Come to has various senses in English. The fourth one here is relevant in this case:

  1. (preposition)
    to arrive at (a certain state)
    // what is the world coming to?
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  • Which do you mean by "fourth one" on your page? Is it the section which says "Examples of 'come to' in a sentence"? I think that part is generated automatically, so it may change later on for visitors who click on it.
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 11:35
  • For the dictionary that you're referencing, maybe it's better to reference entry 7 in collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/come
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 11:36
  • That one too, but I looked up come to - (In British English) 4 (preposition) To arrive at a certain state. Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 11:40
  • Thank you so much. Are all the sentences of the quote correct? Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 13:30
  • If you mean your quotation from Irfan, it's one sentence, and it is grammatically correct. Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 13:39

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