Hi, Prof. Zheng，
I have looked up the phrases "miss sb" and "miss the old days" in the dictionaries (i.e. Oxford Learner's & Cambridge Dictionary) , both of them define the verb "miss" as feeling sad about the fact that a person/thing is not present. They also both give these entries as an example:
- Anne, who died on 15, November, will be sadly missed by all who knew her.
- "She sadly missed the old days.
My question is:
How do "sadly" & "missed" go together if "missed" includes "sad" in its definition?
This leads me to think that "to miss" has a somewhat different meaning than sad. Am I correct in this?
Thank you for raising such an interesting question. I think the use of "sadly" was not intended as limiting, but rather descriptive of ONE way to describe the feeling of 'missing' someone or something. Missing in English, referring to the loss of a person, animal, event, etc. simply means to long for them or it. Sadness typically accompanies this longing when dealing with people, pets, but not always other things. "She missed the old days." is likely a feeling of nostalgia, which is not necessarily sadness. Often, that feeling is a fondness that comes from a memory of something that is gone.
I'd like to say you are correct in suspecting a difference of meaning, but it lies with "sadly" but not "miss". In fact, sadly sometimes means very much and in a way that makes you sad. Now please look at the following two sentences:
- She will be sadly (very much )missed.
- If you think I'm going to help you again, you're sadly (= completely) mistaken.
- 人们将非常想念她。（sadly=very much）
Thank you, Leo.