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    #1

    To be on one's merit

    I've never seen that idiom (maybe it's not even an idiom ), so could you explain what it stands for and is it used frequently nowadays?

    "I am always on my merit. Every time I preach, I preach my best.
    Every time I pray, I pray my best."
    Dear folks, I am an ESL student so don't ever hesitate to correct me, even the slightest details!

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: To be on one's merit

    I have never seen it before.
    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.

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: To be on one's merit

    I have not seen or heard it in the first person, but it is an easy generalization from the usual third person case. By the way, the plural merits is often used in AmE rather than the singular merit. Examples:

    Your application will be judged solely on its merit(s).
    All experienced barristers know that cases are not always decided on their merits.
    Last edited by probus; 12-May-2014 at 03:30.

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    #4

    Re: To be on one's merit

    Ok, thank you, so it's used rather seldom. Could you do the paraphrasing so that I could get what that expression means?
    Dear folks, I am an ESL student so don't ever hesitate to correct me, even the slightest details!

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    #5

    Re: To be on one's merit

    It depends on who you are speaking to. If you are addressing native speakers, I think you shouldn't change a thing. They will get it, in my opinion. But if your audience is mainly learners of ESL you might want to go with something more obvious such as "Whenever I do such and so, I always try to do my best."

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: To be on one's merit

    I"m sorry, but the first sentence, on its own, would mean nothing to me.
    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.

  5. probus's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: To be on one's merit

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I"m sorry, but the first sentence, on its own, would mean nothing to me.
    Hi: I agree. But what I am wondering is whether you and I, as native speakers, would get "I am always on my merits" given the whole passage? I think so.

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    #8

    Re: To be on one's merit

    Thank you both very much! I did get the general meaning of the passage, I thought it could be paraphrased with something like this: "I am always at my limit(s)..."
    but I wasn't sure, so I asked you. I definitely feel much better now when I know that that kind of text (used around the beginning of the 20th century by a Yorkshire plumber that turned into a gospel preacher) can cause some problems even to native speakers.
    Dear folks, I am an ESL student so don't ever hesitate to correct me, even the slightest details!

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    #9

    Re: To be on one's merit

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    Hi: I agree. But what I am wondering is whether you and I, as native speakers, would get "I am always on my merits" given the whole passage? I think so.
    Given that the next sentence explains it, I think the answer for most would be yes, but without the context, it wouldn't work.

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    #10

    Re: To be on one's merit

    This sounds 19th century to me. I think the speaker is saying that that he welcomes people's judgement of him at all times and that in everything he does he expects to be judged. Assuming that he is a clergyman he may also be expressing his belief that his actions will be judged by a higher power.

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