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    #1

    on me

    When does one attach the tag phrase "on me"; like in "failed on me" versus simply "failed". Is it OK to say:

    I am certain I sent you the email invite for the party, but the email server appears to have failed on me.

    What is the difference between:
    1) My car broke/failed.
    2) My car failed on me.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: on me

    Quote Originally Posted by greenisgood View Post
    When does one attach the tag phrase "on me"; like in "failed on me" versus simply "failed". Is it OK to say:

    I am certain I sent you the email invite for the party, but the email server appears to have failed on me.

    What is the difference between:
    1) My car broke/failed.
    2) My car failed on me.
    You usually use it of something within reach; a mailserver typically isn't. But you could say, e.g. 'Outlook failed on me'. At least, that's the way it sounds to me; what you say would be perfectly clear, but would seem slightly odd.

    1 and 2 have similar meanings* - but when you add 'on me' you are emphasizing your reliance on the thing that failed. When David Soul sang 'Don't give up on us, Baby' he meant more than 'don't give up'; he meant 'don't give up and I'm relying on you not to'.

    b

    *PS Incidentally, you probably wouldn't say 'the car broke'. Some part of it may have broken - say 'the fan-belt broke'. Otherwise it makes the car sound like a toy! (Informally, people play on this for comic effect - it trivializes the failure: 'He wanted to bring his camera, but it broke - poor diddums'.)

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    #3

    Re: on me

    How can we say not to make the car sound like a toy ?
    I would say "My car has been broken" or "My car broke down".
    Thank you very much !

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: on me

    I'd say "My car broke down" but not "My car broke."

    Peter will be late for work today. His car broke down [on him] while he was in rush hour traffic on I-95. Poor guy.
    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.

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