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    #1

    What does patronize mean?

    Hi Guys

    Yesterday, I heard an actor saying, "Don't you patronize me." Out of context, I thought it meant, "Don't feel sorry for me" (in a condescending way). Even after looking at the dictionary definition, I still don't get it.

    Can you please explain the word in plain English (may be with a scenario)?

    Thanks.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What does patronize mean?

    to talk to (someone) in a way that shows that you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/patronize

    You say something that sounds kind but really means "I'm better than you."
    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. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What does patronize mean?

    Considering that you are both female and American, Barb, that was quite a good answer. Well done!


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    #4

    Re: What does patronize mean?

    Thanks @Barb_D. Got it now. In that scene, person said something sympathetically, but essentially was showing superiority.

    @Piscean: Reading your (sarcastic) comment above, would it be fine to say, "Don't patronize her" (i.e. if you were showing superiority).
    Last edited by EnglishLearner007; 05-Sep-2016 at 18:38.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What does patronize mean?

    Yes, if he were being serious, you could scold him about being patronizing, but fortunately, you understood he was being sarcastic.
    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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    #6

    Re: What does patronize mean?

    @Barb_D: With limited English knowledge that I posses, I was wondering why didn't you write "Had he been serious, you could have scold him" (past unreal conditional). Is were-type conditionals more commonly spoken by native English speakers?

    PS: I have read your signature loud and clear. Just asking.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: What does patronize mean?

    Had he been serious // If he had been serious -- you could have scolded him for it.

    I used "being" to show the temporary aspect of his comments. He would not usually be patronizing, but maybe he was being patronizing just then.
    Americans are more likely to use the subjunctive "If I were" "If he were" than BrE users, I'm told.

    He was being serious -- True statement about his temporary actions.
    If he were being serious -- He was not being serious.
    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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    #8

    Re: What does patronize mean?

    I see the subtle difference. Thanks for pointing out. These are the things that make it so difficult for ESL learners to become fluent.

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    #9

    Re: What does patronize mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by EnglishLearner007 View Post
    @Barb_D: With limited English knowledge that I posses, I was wondering why didn't you write "Had he been serious, you could have scold him" (past unreal conditional). Is were-type conditionals more commonly spoken by native English speakers?
    We Americans don't use the had he been serious form very often. It definitely exists, and people from some regions and backgrounds use it more than others, but in general it's not common.
    I am not a teacher.

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