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Thread: LMAO

  1. #1
    Viktor Sorokin is offline Junior Member
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    Red face LMAO

    Laughing My Ass Off

    Yes, I know what that means.

    Ridiculous as it may seem, I'd like to know of grammar of this phrase.
    1) is laughing a gerund or a participle?
    2) what does off mean in this context?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: LMAO

    It is a fraction of a sentence: you, he etc. was or is laughing. So laughing is a participle.

    The original phrase was laughing one's head off. Presumably the joke was that if you laughed hard and long enough your head might fall off.

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: LMAO

    I wouldn't interpret 'off' so literally. In English we often tack on an intrinsically irrelevant preposition to add emphasis to the verb. If you're 'crying your eyes out' nothing's falling out.

    b

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: LMAO

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I wouldn't interpret 'off' so literally. In English we often tack on an intrinsically irrelevant preposition to add emphasis to the verb. If you're 'crying your eyes out' nothing's falling out.

    b
    On the other hand "laughing your arse" or "crying your eyes" probably don't work so well.

  5. #5
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: LMAO

    Because this is a fragment, it is impossible to determine whether it is a participle or a gerund. A gerund would be a noun; a participle would part of a verb or a modifier of another word.

    Gerund: I am tired of seeing laughing my ass off in messages.

    Present participle in a verb (past continuous form): I was laughing my ass off for hours.

    Participle as a modifier (adjective): Laughing my ass off, I left the movie and went home.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: LMAO

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    On the other hand "laughing your arse" or "crying your eyes" probably don't work so well.
    Touché. I used 'add a preposition' as shorthand. You intensify 'laugh/cry' by making it into a phrasal verb and adding a dummy object.

    b

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: LMAO

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Because this is a fragment, it is impossible to determine whether it is a participle or a gerund.
    In most internet contexts, it stands alone, so I think that it is hard to make much of a case for the gerund or adjective with LMAO.

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: LMAO

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    In most internet contexts, it stands alone, so I think that it is hard to make much of a case for the gerund or adjective with LMAO.
    It's a verb - past simple. The first word is 'laughed'.

    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: LMAO

    I agree, Tdol. I was just highlighting the possibilities for the word.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: LMAO

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    It's a verb - past simple. The first word is 'laughed'.

    Lacks the immediacy of the web.

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