Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Barbados
      • Current Location:
      • Bahrain

    • Join Date: Aug 2007
    • Posts: 110
    #1

    buttering up the boss

    Greetings:

    Your phrasal verb dictionary describes the verb "butter up" as Separable obligatory. But it seems to me that this isn't quite the case. For example:

    Percy was always buttering up the boss, so he was surprised when he failed to get a promotion.

    Or am I missing something here?

    Cordially,
    Lou Hevly

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2005
    • Posts: 2,045
    #2

    Re: buttering up the boss

    Buttering up usually refers to undeserved flattery or obsequiousness, trying to gain someone's approval through compliments or subservience.

    "Wow Boss, that sure is a nice tie. You've really got the best taste in clothes. Do you need me to do anything for you? Is your wastebasket empty? Can I get you some coffee? How about if I run down to the deli and get you one of those muffins you really like?"

  1. Amigos4's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 54,877
    #3

    Re: buttering up the boss

    Quote Originally Posted by louhevly View Post
    Greetings:

    Your phrasal verb dictionary describes the verb "butter up" as Separable obligatory. But it seems to me that this isn't quite the case. For example:

    Percy was always buttering up the boss, so he was surprised when he failed to get a promotion.

    Or am I missing something here?

    Cordially,
    Lou Hevly
    Lou,

    We often say that an employee who is 'buttering up' the boss is 'brown nosing' or 'kissing ass'. No matter how you describe it, this act of seeking the boss's favor is considered taboo by fellow employees!

    Cheers,
    Amigos4


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #4

    Re: buttering up the boss

    I think you're actually asking us a 'usage' question, not the meaning.

    I tried to butter him up before I asked for a raise. - OK, what do you want? I know you are buttering me up for something.

    neither 'butter up him" nor "buttering up me" would be correct

    ...and nor would "Percy was always buttering the boss up."
    (Percy was always buttering up the boss)

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Barbados
      • Current Location:
      • Bahrain

    • Join Date: Aug 2007
    • Posts: 110
    #5

    Re: buttering up the boss

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post

    ...and nor would "Percy was always buttering the boss up" [be correct].

    (Percy was always buttering up the boss)
    Right. So you're saying the verb "butter up" is a *non-separable* phrasal verb, at least when the complement is a noun. But the usingenglish.com dictionary describes it as *Separable obligatory* (See: https://www.usingenglish.com/referen...butter+up.html).

    So my point was that the dictionary should be emmended.

  2. Amigos4's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 54,877
    #6

    Re: buttering up the boss

    Quote Originally Posted by louhevly View Post
    Right. So you're saying the verb "butter up" is a *non-separable* phrasal verb, at least when the complement is a noun. But the usingenglish.com dictionary describes it as *Separable obligatory* (See: https://www.usingenglish.com/referen...butter+up.html).

    So my point was that the dictionary should be emmended.
    I agree with you, louhevly! The dictionary should be ammended.

    Cheers,
    Amigos4

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Barbados
      • Current Location:
      • Bahrain

    • Join Date: Aug 2007
    • Posts: 110
    #7

    Re: buttering up the boss

    Quote Originally Posted by amigos4 View Post
    I agree with you, louhevly! The dictionary should be ammended.

    Cheers,
    Amigos4
    "emended" (sorry to have misspelled it) is also correct. "amend" also has only one 'm'.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585
    #8

    Re: buttering up the boss

    Thanks for that, Lou!

    It will be brought to the attention of the PVD Amendment Operative.

    All the best,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  3. Amigos4's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 54,877
    #9

    Re: buttering up the boss

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post
    Thanks for that, Lou!

    It will be brought to the attention of the PVD Amendment Operative.

    All the best,

    MrP
    "emended" is my new word for the day, Louhevly! I had not heard of it before you brought it to my attention! Thank you!

    Mr. Pedantic, does this mean that we should create a new operative? (PVD Emendment Operative)

    Cheers,
    Amigos4

  4. #10

    Re: buttering up the boss

    I have no idea what a separable obligatory is, but the sentence you cite is perfectly good English. "Buttering the boss up" is possible too, and I don't think one is better English than the other.

    I don't think you're missing anything.

    We have many expressions for this kind of behavior, flattering someone to get an advantage, and some of these expressions are quite vulgar.

    One you can use:
    He was always licking the boss's boots.
    He was a bootlicker.

    Go ahead, butter me up, tell me I'm the greatest English teacher of all time!
    Give me a swollen head! Put me on Cloud 9! Make my day!
    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by louhevly View Post
    Greetings:

    Your phrasal verb dictionary describes the verb "butter up" as Separable obligatory. But it seems to me that this isn't quite the case. For example:

    Percy was always buttering up the boss, so he was surprised when he failed to get a promotion.

    Or am I missing something here?

    Cordially,
    Lou Hevly

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. signing a letter for the boss
    By Unregistered in forum Letter Writing
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15-May-2007, 18:13
  2. boss sb around
    By daisy1352 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Jan-2007, 06:31
  3. is it correct to write my Boss this!
    By Mall in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-Aug-2006, 08:16

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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