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  1. #1
    philipwei is offline Newbie
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    Smile play with somebody

    Hi
    I encountered a sentence in a reading passage for senior high school students. The sentence is quite simple: Would you like to play with me? However, a native speaker of English told me that for anyone older than 12, 'Would you like to play with me?' often has a vulgar meaning. I googled this sentence and found a lot of citations, but there is no indication that this sentence bears a vulgar meaning.
    So, can any native speaker of English tell me whether it is true that it bears a vulgar meaning?
    Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: play with somebody

    It could have a vulgar meaning (masturbate/some sort of sexual activity), but I think the vulgar meaning is only automatic with people who don't play, so over 12 is probably a reasonable limit.
    Last edited by Tdol; 12-Oct-2006 at 06:37. Reason: Removing incorrect negative

  3. #3
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    Default Re: play with somebody

    I think most adults would assume the question had a sexual meaning if they were asked this by another adult, unless a context had already been established.

    For example: "I've booked a tennis court. Would you like to play with me?"

    (This example is a little unrealistic, as an English speaker would be more likely to say "Do you want to play tennis?".)

    The question is used very often by children, but teenagers and adults would probably think it a bit strange unless it was asked by a lover/partner/potential partner.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: play with somebody

    Boothling, I am sorry- I meant to say 'I think', but typed 'I don't think'.

  5. #5
    philipwei is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: play with somebody

    Thanks, Tdol. I know that 'play with oneself' refers to masturbate and 'play about/around with' is related to sexual activities, but in the case of the sentence mentioned, I just cannot understand why there is such a vulgar meaning. Anyway, since you native speakers do think that it is not appropriate to have an adult or a teenager to say this, surely it is better to let students know that it is not right to say this?

  6. #6
    philipwei is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: play with somebody

    Boothling, thanks. Your explanation is very clear.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: play with somebody

    O don't play games any more, so when I hear the phrase, masturbation is this default meaning- above a certain age, the vulgar meaning takes precedence.

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