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    #1

    play a trick on somebody

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expressions in bold in the following sentences?

    He swings our arms as we walk beneath a little stand of cottonwood trees, their green so vivid against the red that it plays tricks on my eyes, confusing my focus.

    Let's play a trick on Dad!

    Nor is that the only occasion on which imagination has played me a trick. (Ch. Bronte, “Shirley”)

    ..after all he could blame no one for the trick that had been played on him except himself. (A. Cillitoe, “Key to the Door”)

    play a trick on somebody = play a practical joy on someone = pull a fast one = put up a job on someone

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 24-Jul-2011 at 11:18.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: play a trick on somebody

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expressions in bold in the following sentences?

    He swings our arms as we walk beneath a little stand of cottonwood trees, their green so vivid against the red that it plays tricks on my eyes, confusing my focus.

    Let's play a trick on Dad!

    Nor is that the only occasion on which imagination has played me a trick. (Ch. Bronte, “Shirley”)

    ..after all he could blame no one for the trick that had been played on him except himself. (A. Cillitoe, “Key to the Door”)

    play a trick on somebody = play a practical joy on someone = pull a fast one = put up a job on someone

    V.
    In physical terms, yes, it means to play a practical joke (not joy) on someone.

    "To pull a fast one" really means to trick someone out of something (money etc) rather than actually playing a trick. It's a subtle difference which I'm struggling to explain.

    I've never heard "to put up a job on someone". Maybe it's AmE.

    In your original quote though, he's just saying that the colours were so bright that they confused his vision, thus "playing a trick on his eyes". I'm not quite sure what the trick was, that's not entirely clear!

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    #3

    Re: play a trick on somebody

    In your original quote though, he's just saying that the colours were so bright that they confused his vision, thus "playing a trick on his eyes". I'm not quite sure what the trick was, that's not entirely clear!

    If I direct with the help of a mirror the reflected sunshine toward my girlfriend’s eyes I could say that I play a trick on her (eyes). In my humble opinion something in the same kind is happened in the case in question in first sentence in my original post.

    V.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: play a trick on somebody

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    In your original quote though, he's just saying that the colours were so bright that they confused his vision, thus "playing a trick on his eyes". I'm not quite sure what the trick was, that's not entirely clear!

    If I direct with the help of a mirror the reflected sunshine toward my girlfriend’s eyes I could say that I play a trick on her (eyes). In my humble opinion something in the same kind is happened in the case in question in first sentence in my original post.

    V.
    Yes, that would work!

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