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  1. #1
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if there is any verb (phrasal verb) we use for a situation in which we try to prepare soebody for a bad news! Say, a close relative of them has just passed away and we prefer not to put it directly, by talking to them and making them prepared.


    Hope there is such an expression or verb!


    Many thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    I can' think of a phrasal verb or something nice and neat but you can say "to break it to them/him gently".
    "break the news softly" or other variations with "break"

  3. #3
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    Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    And, as the adverb implies, it is possible (though a bit Macchiavellian) to 'soften them up' before breaking it. But the verb is 'break' - attenuated by some adverb like gently/softly/delicately/with finesse...

    b

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    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    You can also try to "cushion the blow."

  5. #5
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    Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    'Cushion the blow' - break bad news about pain etc
    'Sugar the pill' - break bad news about something unpleasant (e.g. higher tax)

    Often they overlap.

    b

  6. #6
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    Thank you dear posters for the helpful answers! Please put my questions down to my poor understanding of English. :(


    Well, it's quite common that in some cultures, especially the ones in which people have some religious beliefs, people would try to calm each other down in case something disastrous happen to them. Before the news, say, of a person's death is broken we would normally hear someone say, 'well, you know, things happen...there're ups and downs in life...we've got to face the reality, etc.' none of which is the news itself.

    I figure I shouldn't persist in getting a fixed expression for using such sentences. Am I right?

    By the way, I should be so thankful for the choices you have given me. They're cool! Ta!

  7. #7
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Well, it's quite common that in some cultures, especially the ones in which people have some religious beliefs, people would try to calm each other down in case something disastrous happen to them.
    What does it have to do with religion? I haven't met many people who wouldn't try to comfort a distressed person and I know many irreligious folks.

  8. #8
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    Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Thank you dear posters for the helpful answers! Please put my questions down to my poor understanding of English. :(


    Well, it's quite common that in some cultures, especially the ones in which people have some religious beliefs, people would try to calm each other down in case something disastrous happen to them. Before the news, say, of a person's death is broken we would normally hear someone say, 'well, you know, things happen...there're ups and downs in life...we've got to face the reality, etc.' none of which is the news itself.
    These people are all "beating around the bush."

    I figure I shouldn't persist in getting a fixed expression for using such sentences. Am I right?

    By the way, I should be so thankful for the choices you have given me. They're cool! Ta!
    H.

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
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    Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    In British English it's "beating about the bush". I think the alliteration makes it more expressive.

    b

  10. #10
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    Re: Can we 'warm up somebody' for a bad news?!

    Death seems to attract blow-softening euphemisms. When my father popped his clogs (pop one's clogs - Wiktionary), I informed people that he had died; my mother said that he had passed away. An American friend wrote that she was sad to hear that he had passed. I hear passing without the away for the first time in the film Walk the Line.

    I have never heard of an animal being killed when it’s very sick – it’s usually put down or put to sleep.

    More expressions here: Euphemisms for Death/dead/to die | Listology

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