Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Bassim is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Bosnian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    6,948

    Catch on to

    I have tried to use "catch on to" in my sentence. I am wondering if it could be used in my sentence.

    The wounded man mumbled something but nobody could catch on to what he was saying.
    Last edited by Bassim; 22-Sep-2017 at 10:07.

  2. #2
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: Catch on to

    Yes, you could use it that way.

    Watch your punctuation!

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    61,335

    Re: Catch on to

    I find "catch on" very unnatural there. In BrE, it's just "catch".

    What was that? I didn't quite catch what you said.
    He mumbled something but nobody caught what he said.
    He mumbled something but nobody could catch what he was saying.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. #4
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    22,256

    Re: Catch on to

    Catch on means "gradually understand" in American English. It doesn't work in the original sentence.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    19,049

    Re: Catch on to

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I find "catch on" very unnatural there. In BrE, it's just "catch".

    What was that? I didn't quite catch what you said.
    He mumbled something but nobody caught what he said.
    He mumbled something but nobody could catch what he was saying.
    I agree for the US as well.
    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.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    74,131

    Re: Catch on to

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Catch on means "gradually understand" in American English. It doesn't work in the original sentence.
    It's the same in BrE- it wouldn't be about understanding unclear speech, but getting a message that might be unclear, hidden or subtly expressed.

  7. #7
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    22,256

    Re: Catch on to

    We're particularly likely to use the phrase when tackling a difficult subject. I thought I'd never learn C#, but I'm finally starting to catch on.
    I am not a teacher.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •