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I came across this sentence

There isn't an entomologist in the whole world who wouldn't give all he has to be in my shoes today.

When I asked this translation to some people, some person translated "to be in my shoes" as "in order to be in my shoes" and some person translated it as "if he were in my shoes".

Which is correct? Or anything else?

I knew the meaning of the idiom "be in my shoes" but I am confused how to use this infinitive "to be in my shoes" in this sentence because there were some translations about it.

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  • "to be in my shoes" is an idiom that means, roughly, "to be in my situation". Didn't you ask almost this same question a few days ago? ell.stackexchange.com/questions/87843/…
    – stangdon
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 17:38
  • Yes, I knew the meaning of the idiom but there are some translations about this infinitive "to be in my shoes", so I am confused. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 17:46
  • Could you clarify the question? Do you need more examples of the mentioned idiom used in a sentence?
    – user3395
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:08
  • I heard infinitive can mean supposition like this sentence "To hear her talk, you would think she is from Tokyo.", so this infinitive" to be in my shoes" mean "if he were in my shoes" but many people say it is " in order to be in my shoes". Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:27
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    The infinitive has several uses; it doesn't have just one meaning. In this case, "to ____" means "in order to _____", but you don't have to say "in order to"; it's clear from context.
    – stangdon
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:33

1 Answer 1

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In order to be in my shoes is correct and it means to be (or put oneself) in another person's situation or predicament. In your sentence it means:

All entomologists or scientists according to what the speaker believes (thinks) want to be in his/her position. They are willing to walk the life he/she is living. By the speaker (he/she) I mean the person who is saying this sentence.

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  • that's not a good example. It's not "I want to be in your shoes", it's more "If I were unfortunate enough to be in your shoes"
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 17:50
  • Thank you for your answer. I also understand it as "in order to" as many person say. I was confused by a person. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:42
  • @YuuichiTam: You're welcome!
    – Mia
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:44
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    "There isn't an entomologist in the whole world who wouldn't give all he has in order to be in my shoes today." Yes, that's correct, but it's also a bit wordy. As @stangdon said in an earlier comment, the "in order to" isn't needed. However, if someone is having trouble understanding the original, that's a good explanation of it.
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 20:31
  • @J.R. Right! But I just wanted to clarify some doubts and wanted to make sure there is no more confusion. I tried as hard as I could and did my best to do it.
    – Mia
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 20:42

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