clash between an english native speaker and english student

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jirikoo

Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Czech
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
I live in Australia studying english extensively and frequently. Sometimes when talking with my native colleagues at work we happen to differ on many various grammar questions and more importantly word and phrase usage.

Here are some of the examples i hope you will help me shed the light on them:

1) I say: "Its a fag today". She (native speaker) goggles her eyes trying to calm me down. She says "fag" means only "fagot". What I meant was: hard work or slavery.
Question: who is right? If "fag" really means a hard work is it a common colloquial expression ?

2) She spilled water. I say "What did you commit?" She doesn't understand me. I meant: What did you do? I thought that the word "To commit" means "cause" or "do". She claims that "to commit" means only "to bond" or "to bind (oneself to...)" in relation to "commitment" etc.

Question: who is right? If "commit" really means also "cause" is it a common colloquial expression?


3) Catch up. I said "Don't catch my words up". What I meant was: Don't watch and analyze my every single word. Do not translate each word literally. She doesnt figure out what i meant.

Question: who is right? Is "catch up" in this context right? If so is it a common colloquial expression?

Thank you guys
 

apex2000

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Wales
1) I say: "Its a fag today". She (native speaker) goggles her eyes trying to calm me down. She says "fag" means only "fagot". What I meant was: hard work or slavery.
Question: who is right? If "fag" really means a hard work is it a common colloquial expression ?
Your use of fag is slang which is not understood. If you mean hard work then say it.
2) She spilled water. I say "What did you commit?" She doesn't understand me. I meant: What did you do? I thought that the word "To commit" means "cause" or "do". She claims that "to commit" means only "to bond" or "to bind (oneself to...)" in relation to "commitment" etc.
Again say 'what did you do'. Commit is used when someone is guilty of something - you committed an offence - or to be involved, pledge, promise - you made a commitment to do that work.
Question: who is right? If "commit" really means also "cause" is it a common colloquial expression?
No, not colloquial as such just normal usage but it does not mean cause.

3) Catch up. I said "Don't catch my words up". What I meant was: Don't watch and analyze my every single word. Do not translate each word literally. She doesnt figure out what i meant.
Mean what you say 'don't analyse my every word'. Catch up is wrong here - you catch up with someone walking ahead of you.
You should listen to what your companions are telling you. They know how to say what they mean.
 
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