I'll buy it

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shane

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I have a question for our American friends on here:

My fiancee was in her 'translation class' at university today, and her teacher insisted that the phrase "I'll buy it" means "I don't know".

I have NEVER heard it used in this way, I've only ever heard "I don't buy that" (I don't believe it) or "Do you buy that?" (Do you believe that?).

This isn't an American slang expression, is it? IMO, this teacher is getting a little mixed up...

Thanks for your help!
 

RonBee

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I wouldn't say "I'll buy that" is a slang expression, since it has been around long enough to be considered a colloquialism. It is a way of expressing that a person believes, or accepts, something that has been said. Similarly, "I don't buy that" expresses disbelief, or incredulity.

My fiancee was in her 'translation class' at university today, and her teacher insisted that the phrase "I'll buy it" means "I don't know".

Like you, I have never heard it used that way, and I am quite skeptical. Perhaps I will see if I can get some more opinions for you.

:)
 

Red5

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I agree with both of you - IMO they are wrong. Ron's description fits exactly with what I understand by it. ;-)
 

shane

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Cheers Ronbee :)

By the way, the teacher insisted that in future, when students don't know the answer to a question, they should stand up and say "I'll buy it". What an odd class. :shock:
 

RonBee

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shane said:
Cheers Ronbee :)

By the way, the teacher insisted that in future, when students don't know the answer to a question, they should stand up and say "I'll buy it". What an odd class. :shock:

Odd indeed! Those students are going to get some strange reactions should they ever use that expression with a native speaker. Is that teacher Chinese?

8)
 

shane

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RonBee said:
Odd indeed! Those students are going to get some strange reactions should they ever use that expression with a native speaker. Is that teacher Chinese?

8)
Yes she is Chinese. She comes from Dalian Foreign Language Institute, apparently (which is usually a very good school!) :shock:
 

Tdol

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That's more common in the negative- 'I'm not buying that', meaning I don't accept it. ;-)
 

shane

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So let me get this straight: According to this teacher, 'I'll buy it' means 'I don't know'. Can we assume then, Tdol, that 'I'm not buying that' means 'I know'?? :wink: :twisted:
 

Tdol

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I think the teacher has got the wrong end of the stick. ;-)
 

RonBee

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shane said:
tdol said:
I think the teacher has got the wrong end of the stick. ;-)
She hasn't even got the right stick. :wink:

She is stuck with the wrong stick.

:wink:
 

Red5

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RonBee said:
She is stuck with the wrong stick.

:wink:

She's not even in the same forrest! :-D
 

Tdol

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And definitely no carrot. ;-)
 

RonBee

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She has a stick but no carrot. Do things get any worse than that?

:loling:
 

Tdol

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She has the wrong of the stick and no carrot. I imagine her students spend a lot of time on their feet repeating this phrase. ;-)
 

Tdol

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Let's hope so- there's no valid English explanation that has come up. ;-)
 

RonBee

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"I'll buy that"

"I'll buy that" is used to express agreement.
"I don't buy that" is used to express disagreement, or incredulity.
"I'm not buying that" is used to express disbelief, or incredulity.
To "buy into" something is to give credence to it or to put one's faith and trust in that something. The phrase "bought into" is past tense of "buy into". (The phrases "buy into" and "bought into" often relate to financial matters. Similarly, "I'll buy it" and "I'll buy that" most of the time have to do with purchases.)

Below are some usages of the relevant phrases that I found on some websites. (I quoted liberally from the first one because it has so many of them.) (Emphases added.)

  • "We have represented here degrees to which various people have bought into the system. The "liberals" (modern-day American "liberals" are not very liberal in that they advocate all kinds of fascist and socialist forms of government force) buy into the system to an extreme degree. They see government ("the emperor") as a solution to practically everything."

    "Conservatives buy into the system to a lesser degree. They think there are certain things government must do, but apart from these things there should be a free market."

    "They have bought into the system in that they employ political means."

    "Non-political Libertarians reject political means to bring about freedom. They tend to buy into the system to a lesser degree than political Libertarians, but they still tend to believe they can't be free unless the political system is changed. They may focus on educational activities such as distributing literature and writing letters to newspapers. They've bought into the system to the extent they believe they must obey the system and the system must be changed for them to be free."

    "The Libertarian (particularly the non-political) says, "The President has no clothes!" Thus the Libertarian buys into the system by accepting the notion that "Bill Clinton is president of the U.S.A." More fundamentally, the Libertarian buys into the system by accepting the concept of "president" (in the political sense) as valid. The Terra Libran says, "Why do you call that naked man President?" Thus the Terra Libran rejects the notion that "Bill Clinton is president of the U.S.A." If you believe there's such a thing as the supposed "U.S.A." with Bill Clinton as its so-called "President," you've bought into the system."
    http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl50c.shtml
    ==============================

    The Myths Of Writing: Have You Bought IntoThese?
    http://www.articlecity.com/articles/writing/article_63.shtml
    ====================================

    Here's the skinny on fat: We've bought into myths
    http://www.s-t.com/daily/02-98/02-14-98/b08he092.htm
    =====================================

    "The attack on this community is what brought Todd Gitlin and Christopher Hitchens face to face with their feelings for ordinary Americans in the days after 9/11. Gone in these moments was their elitist identification with a mythical international community and their snobbish depreciation of the simple, concrete and authentic loyalties that ordinary, non-intellectual, Americans feel for each other and for a country, where– as Gitlin tersely puts it – “diversity is not a feel-good slogan and debate is lifeblood.”

    "I’ll buy that, Todd. That’s my country too. I’m glad to join hands with you to defend it."
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/davidhorowitz/dh20030911.shtml

So, do you buy my explanation?

:wink:
 
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