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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline VIP Member
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    Lick somebody's boots

    I have tried to use "lick sb's boots" in my sentence. Would you please correct my mistakes?


    Marina's colleague asked her when she was going to stop licking their boss' boots and stand up to him. Marina replied she despised herself because of her cowardice but she needed her job desperately.

  2. #2
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: Lick sb's boots

    It should be boss's boots. It's pronounced the same as "bosses".

    Maybe that expression is common in British English. It just makes me imagine poor Marina actually licking the boots her boss is wearing - yuck!
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  3. #3
    Bassim is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Lick sb's boots

    GoesStation,

    Just a question.
    If I write my second sentence like this and use "being" would it be better than my original one?

    Marina replied she despised herself for being a coward, but she needed her job desperately.

  4. #4
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: Lick sb's boots

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    If I write my second sentence like this and use "being" would it be better than my original one?

    Marina replied she despised herself for being a coward, but she needed her job desperately.
    Here's the original sentence:
    Marina replied she despised herself because of her cowardice but she needed her job desperately.
    They both need "that" after replied.​ I didn't notice earlier. With that amendment, either sentence is OK.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Lick sb's boots

    I'd put "desperately" before "needed her job".
    "Licking ... boots" is fine in BrE. It's cleaner than the alternative, but much-used, "licking ... a*se". We also have the delightful term "to brown-nose".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. #6
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: Lick sb's boots

    It took me a while but I finally remembered the usual American equivalent: to kiss someone's feet. We have the same somewhat vulgar version except we use our variant of the name of the bit of the anatomy it invokes.
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  7. #7
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    Skrej is offline Key Member
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    Re: Lick sb's boots

    Hmm, the expression 'boot-licking' is pretty well-known in AmE, as well, at least where I'm from. There's even the noun form, a boot-licker. I have heard of 'kissing someone's boot', but not their 'foot'.


    In my opinion, the related term 'lickspittle' is woefully underutilized. I champion its cause, to little (no, if we're being honest) avail. It's one of those delightfully distasteful words to consider their literal meaning.
    Last edited by Skrej; 20-Sep-2017 at 23:06. Reason: added
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Lick sb's boots

    You can kiss or lick someone's boots in the UK, though I hear brown-nosing used a lot now.

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