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Thread: cough up

  1. #1
    vectra's Avatar
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    Default cough up

    Hello everyone,

    If I change some words in the following sentences, will they make sense?

    I'll never ask you for money again. You always give it unwillingly. (change for cough up)
    I decided to put my work aside and have a walk. (change for on ice)
    He abandoned me. I will never forgive him. (change for left me high and dry)
    It can't be true! Mike couldn't betray Jane. He is in love with her. (change for sell Jane down the river)

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    Default Re: cough up

    You're being greedy, Vectra. Four different questions squeezed into one post.
    I'll content myself with the first: I'll never ask you for money again. You always cough it up unwillingly. Accceptable, informally.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: cough up

    I really am sorry about that. Thank you for reminding me about the forum rules.
    Pressed for time as usual. Tomorrow I am meeting my boss, the head of the department. It looks as if my application to enrol in the British Council course for e-trainers has been approved, but some red tape to be dealt with.

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    Default Re: cough up

    Fair enough.
    I'll look at the second.
    Quote Originally Posted by vectra View Post
    I decided to put my work aside and have a walk. (change for on ice)
    I decided to put my work on ice and have (go for, take) a walk.

    It's acceptable, but it sounds a little artificial to me. Your original sentence comes across to me as natural. If I were to use a slightly idiomatic expression, I'd go for: "I decided to put my work to one side".

    ps. good luck with your application.

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    Default Re: cough up

    Hello,
    Thank you very much for your comments and good wishes.
    I posted these sentences only because the words in brackets are the idioms the students must use. I do agree with you that some of them are a little out of place, to put it mildly.
    What I will try to do is, if time permits, alert some of my colleagues who will be running module tests as to the real situation with some of the idioms. They might have time to make changes in the structure of the sentences.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: cough up

    Quote Originally Posted by vectra View Post

    He abandoned me. I will never forgive him. (change for left me high and dry)
    It can't be true! Mike couldn't betray Jane. He is in love with her. (change for sell Jane down the river)
    He has left me high and dry. I will never forgive him.

    It can't be true! Mike couldn't sell Jane down the river. He is in love with her.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: cough up

    In my experience, when you sell someone down the river, you betray them in a non-relationship sense.

    There has been some sort of wrong doing. One person gets out of trouble (or in less trouble) by betraying the other person involved.

    Two crooks are arrested, and one tells the whole story in exchange for a lighter sentence, in effect selling his buddy down the river.

    (I even wonder if it has to do with the location of London Tower -- did you sell someone down the river so that they ended up in the Tower? At first I thought of SingSing, but that's upriver from New York City. My London geography is terrible, so I don't know if that works for the Tower.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: cough up

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    In my experience, when you sell someone down the river, you betray them in a non-relationship sense.

    There has been some sort of wrong doing. One person gets out of trouble (or in less trouble) by betraying the other person involved.

    Two crooks are arrested, and one tells the whole story in exchange for a lighter sentence, in effect selling his buddy down the river.

    (I even wonder if it has to do with the location of London Tower -- did you sell someone down the river so that they ended up in the Tower? At first I thought of SingSing, but that's upriver from New York City. My London geography is terrible, so I don't know if that works for the Tower.)
    The expression originates from the times when there was a civil war between North and South in America. North owners who selled negro slaves to South owners actually sent them down the river to work for other people in a new place.

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    Default Re: cough up

    Quote Originally Posted by milan2003_07 View Post
    The expression originates from the times when there was a civil war between North and South in America. North owners who selled sold negro slaves to South owners actually sent them down the river to work for other people in a new place.
    Thanks for that. I learn something new every day.

    I think we'd probably more naturally say 'Northern/Southern owners', but don't take my word for it. Wait for a speaker of AmE to give their opinion.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: cough up

    Sorry for "selled". Of course I know that it's "sold".

    I was thinking about "Southern" and "Northern" but these words are connected with the geographical location. The South of the present US and the North of it corresponded to their geography, but I thought "North" and "South" were more appropriate with "owners"...

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