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  1. #1
    Bambik is offline Newbie
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    Default You know better than that - definition

    I need help, please... I have some problems to understand this phrase.
    It is from my conversation with one man.
    I said " I guess, you really don't like me" ( I know he did before, not sure about it now) and he replied " You know better than that..."
    What could he possibly mean by that? What does it mean in other words? Thanks.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    Quote Originally Posted by Bambik View Post
    I said " I guess, you really don't like me" ( I know he did before, not sure about it now) and he replied " You know better than that..."
    What could he possibly mean by that? What does it mean in other words?
    He means that what you have just said is not true, and you know it.

    In this situation, he is saying that he likes you, and that you know he does.

  3. #3
    Kotfor is offline Member
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    If I heard this phrase I would think that a person can mean several things. fivejedjon, do you find this phrase clear and accurate here? Isn't it two-faced?

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    If I heard this phrase I would think that a person can mean several things. fivejedjon, do you find this phrase clear and accurate here? Isn't it two-faced?
    When a parent says it to a child who has misbehaved, it can be taken as a rebuke. In Bambik's OP it was a reassurance.

    With native speakers, it is unlikely to be misunderstood.

  5. #5
    Kotfor is offline Member
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    With native speakers, it is unlikely to be misunderstood.
    It is interesting to notice that certain langauges shape a certain thinking. In this case we can see that the addressee understood all the words he was told (and the words were not rare or difficult) but he still didn't get the message. I think I wouldn't have gotten it too. It makes me think that different langauges shape different thinking or something else, I can't identify what it is. If I heard this phrase said in my native langauge I would simply understand that the speaker thinks that I know better than I have said I know, but I wouldn't think that this "better" would somehow imply that what I have said is not true. Interesting.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    It is interesting to notice that certain langauges shape a certain thinking. In this case we can see that the addressee understood all the words he was told (and the words were not rare or difficult) but he still didn't get the message.
    Don't forget that Bambik is not a native speaker.

  7. #7
    Coolfootluke is offline Member
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    It is interesting to notice that certain langauges shape a certain thinking. In this case we can see that the addressee understood all the words he was told (and the words were not rare or difficult) but he still didn't get the message. I think I wouldn't have gotten it too. It makes me think that different langauges shape different thinking or something else, I can't identify what it is. If I heard this phrase said in my native langauge I would simply understand that the speaker thinks that I know better than I have said I know, but I wouldn't think that this "better" would somehow imply that what I have said is not true. Interesting.
    I am not a teacher.

    I think that the phenomenon you are seeing is idiom. That sequence of words conveys a thought that cannot be discerned in the words themselves. That same thought would be expressed in another way in another language, but the thought is common to us all. If it were not, idiom would not work the way it does. The speaker was gently chiding her (?) for letting her insecurities cloud her outlook, telling her to look into her own heart for the answer which he was assuring her was that he did like her. (Sorry about the convoluted sentence, but it goes to illustrate the power of idiom. With it, a complex idea can be expressed in very few words, words that in and of themselves do not express it.)

  8. #8
    Kotfor is offline Member
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    Does it exist in a dictionary?

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    Does it exist in a dictionary?
    It's in my OALD, 6th edition.

  10. #10
    Coolfootluke is offline Member
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    Default Re: You know better than that - definition

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    Does it exist in a dictionary?
    I am not a teacher.

    I would have included the link in my first post if it had been easier to find. There is an entry in the M-W Learner's Dictionary, about halfway down the page (under "know").

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