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    #1

    on the slate

    Hi

    Is it OK to say "Those people always buy on the slate".

    Thanks

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    #2

    Re: on the slate

    [AmE - not a teacher]

    Sorry, I have never heard that expression before.

    In the US, several phrases have become out of favor because they sound exclusionary: "you people", "those people" are some examples. They might be avoided in some circumstances.

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    #3

    Re: on the slate

    In one of the dictionaries online I've found:

    Idiom: on the slate

    • On credit.


  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: on the slate

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    Is it OK to say "Those people always buy on the slate".

    Thanks
    In BrE there is an expression, not frequently used these days, "to put something on the slate". It means to take goods from a shop and pay for them later. It originates from a time when people could get groceries from a local shop where they were known to the shopkeeper, the shopkeeper would write down the amount they owed, originally on a slate, and they would pay on pay day. This was at a time when most people were weekly paid.

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    #5

    Re: on the slate

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    In BrE there is an expression, not frequently used these days, "to put something on the slate". It means to take goods from a shop and pay for them later. It originates from a time when people could get groceries from a local shop where they were known to the shopkeeper, the shopkeeper would write down the amount they owed, originally on a slate, and they would pay on pay day. This was at a time when most people were weekly paid.
    So this expression is not used any more?
    So what people say today: on credit. "They always buy alcohol on credit".

    EDIT: But if I said "They always buy on the slate", would it be wrong? Do I have to use "to put"?

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: on the slate

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    So this expression is not used any more?
    So what people say today: on credit. "They always buy alcohol on credit".
    I didn't say it was never used, just that it is not frequently used. I find it hard to imagine any shopkeeper selling alcohol on credit.

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    #7

    Re: on the slate

    To me, referring to an individual buying something "on credit" is inappropriate. I might use "with a creditcard" or "loan to buy a car", etc, but I would not ask "did you buy that on credit?" That would be reserved for something less personal, such as "the business was able to expand its operations because it was able to buy supplies on credit."

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: on the slate

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    In BrE there is an expression, not frequently used these days, "to put something on the slate". It means to take goods from a shop and pay for them later. It originates from a time when people could get groceries from a local shop where they were known to the shopkeeper, the shopkeeper would write down the amount they owed, originally on a slate, and they would pay on pay day. This was at a time when most people were weekly paid.
    The idiom did refer to an actual slate (blackboard, written on with chalk). Small businesses and pubs in the UK used to do it. It's not at all common now.

    People who buy things 'on credit' are usually said to do just that. (Also, before the time of credit cards, it was common - in the UK - for rertailers to sell products on 'deferred terms' - regular payments, over months or years. This used to be called (colloquially) buying things 'on the never-never'. But the practice - and the term - has died out (although shops still have 'credit agreements', which amount to much the same thing, and some people still use 'on the never-never' in a self-conscious way).

    b

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    #9

    Re: on the slate

    How about buying something "on tick". Is it also an old-fashined expression just like "on the slate".

    Whenever he lacks money he buys food on tick in the local store.

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    #10

    Re: on the slate

    It's not common, but it is used. BNC has only 4 hits, mostly from oral contexts.

    You'd be understood, and I'd use it; younger people might not.

    b

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