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  1. #1
    Naeem PTC is offline Junior Member
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    Default Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    Hi teachers,

    1) Till when did you study last night? Correct?
    2) He prefers eating to studying. Correct?
    3) If I go to someone's house. He offers me something to eat. Is it correct to say? "Oh, you are bothering yoursefl." Or "Don't bother." What to say?
    4) This lesson is a bit difficult. I'll keep reading it until it settles down in my brain. Correct?
    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    FreeToyInside's Avatar
    FreeToyInside is offline Member
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    1) Correct, but to Americans it sounds old fashioned. We would say "when did you study until last night?" We often change word order from something like "the city in which I live" to "the city I live in."

    2) Correct

    3) The best would be "don't trouble yourself." If somebody already cooked you food and you maybe didn't expect them to do that, or they made a lot more food than you expected, you could say "you shouldn't have gone to all that trouble (for me)." This is very polite language. "Don't bother" is used when telling someone not to do something, to nevermind doing something they say they'll do for you, but it has a dismissive and annoyed tone. For example:

    A: I asked you to buy me some milk when you were at the store, where is it?
    B: Oh, I forgot. I can go up and get some now.
    A: Don't bother. (It shows you're angry and/or annoyed, definitely NOT the same as 'don't trouble yourself.')

    4) "I'll keep reading it until it settles in/sinks in." It has the meaning of "until I start to feel more comfortable with it or begin to understand it better. "


    (not a teacher, just a language lover)

  3. #3
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    [AmE - not a teacher]

    IMO, there is no inherent annoyance in "don't bother".

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobSmith View Post
    IMO, there is no inherent annoyance in "don't bother".
    I'd say the same for BrE.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  5. #5
    FreeToyInside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobSmith View Post
    [AmE - not a teacher]

    IMO, there is no inherent annoyance in "don't bother".
    I'd agree to that, no inherent annoyance by it. Maybe I'm just used to hearing it that way because I forget to do things a lot :)

  6. #6
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    Still, if someone offers you refreshment, "Don't bother" is a rude way of responding, don't you think?
    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.

  7. #7
    Naeem PTC is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    Thank you very much.
    But it's correct if I say: "I'll keep reading it until it sinks in my brain." ?

  8. #8
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Still, if someone offers you refreshment, "Don't bother" is a rude way of responding, don't you think?
    100% no.

  9. #9
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    Quote Originally Posted by Naeem PTC View Post
    Thank you very much.
    But it's correct if I say: "I'll keep reading it until it sinks in my brain." ?
    "sinks into"

  10. #10
    FreeToyInside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oh you are bothering yourself or don't bother or what to say?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobSmith View Post
    100% no.
    Maybe it's Barb_D's and my experience that make us feel that way, but I agree with her - as an answer to an offer of a refreshment, "don't bother" feels maybe too short and snippy to be equated with "no need to bother/don't trouble yourself" all the time. It probably makes a big difference to see the person's face and body language, and I'd feel differently about an "ohhhh, don't bother" with a smile.

    In any event, it's interesting how such an everyday phrase can fall differently on our ears, especially as speakers from the same country.

    Perhaps a good bit of advice for the poster is to use this phrase with caution, especially if you're intending to be polite, because the listener might hear it differently than you intend.


    (not a teacher, just a language lover)
    Last edited by FreeToyInside; 05-May-2012 at 23:28.

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