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  1. #1
    GUEST2008 is offline Key Member
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    Default burn the midnight oil/oil it

    Hi

    Does "burn the midnight oil" and "oil it" mean the same?

    Can I say:
    I had so many essays to check that I had to oil it for three consecutive nights.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    No. 'Oil it' is not possible here, in BrE, at least.

  3. #3
    GUEST2008 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    So if I wrote "...I had to burn the midnight oil for three consecutive nights" then that would be fine?

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    The verb 'oil' is, in Br E, transitive: 'If a hinge squeaks, oil it.'

    b

  5. #5
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    No. 'Oil it' is not possible here, in BrE, at least.
    It's nothing I've ever heard in that context but feels like the type of slang that can develop quite easily. When I was in college we did have all sorts of non-standard expressions. Kind of like thieves' cant perhaps.
    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.

  6. #6
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Kind of like thieves' cant perhaps.
    I can't seem to work out what this means or what it derives from.

  7. #7
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    Does "burn the midnight oil" and "oil it" mean the same?

    Can I say:
    I had so many essays to check that I had to oil it for three consecutive nights.
    "oil it" means nothing in AmE as well. Are you making up a usage here? I don't think "burn the midnight oil" is common enough to use "oil it" as a substitute without any prior reference to it.

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    Quote Originally Posted by BobSmith View Post
    I can't seem to work out what this means or what it derives from.
    The key word is 'cant', pronounced /kŠnt/ - or is that not the problem?

    b

  9. #9
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    Thieves' cant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I'm just saying that it's entirely possible that within some university, some sorority, they have their own slang phrases which could include "oil it" to mean "burning the midnight oil."

    There are phrases from my college days that I don't try to use in my current life because they would be meaningless.
    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.

  10. #10
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: burn the midnight oil/oil it

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The key word is 'cant', pronounced /kŠnt/ - or is that not the problem?

    b
    That was elucidative, thanks!

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