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.

  • "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 Apr 21 '16 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. – Yuuichi Tam Apr 21 '16 at 17:46
  • Could you clarify the question? Do you need more examples of the mentioned idiom used in a sentence? – user3395 Apr 21 '16 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". – Yuuichi Tam Apr 21 '16 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 Apr 21 '16 at 18:33

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 Apr 21 '16 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. – Yuuichi Tam Apr 21 '16 at 18:42
  • @YuuichiTam: You're welcome! – Mia Apr 21 '16 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. Apr 21 '16 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 Apr 21 '16 at 20:42

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