[Idiom] LMAO

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Viktor Sorokin

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Laughing My Ass Off

Yes, I know what that means.;-)

Ridiculous as it may seem, I'd like to know of grammar of this phrase.
1) is laughing a gerund or a participle?
2) what does off mean in this context?

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probus

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It is a fraction of a sentence: you, he etc. was or is laughing. So laughing is a participle.

The original phrase was laughing one's head off. Presumably the joke was that if you laughed hard and long enough your head might fall off.
 

BobK

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:-? I wouldn't interpret 'off' so literally. In English we often tack on an intrinsically irrelevant preposition to add emphasis to the verb. If you're 'crying your eyes out' nothing's falling out. ;-)

b
 

Raymott

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:-? I wouldn't interpret 'off' so literally. In English we often tack on an intrinsically irrelevant preposition to add emphasis to the verb. If you're 'crying your eyes out' nothing's falling out. ;-)

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On the other hand "laughing your arse" or "crying your eyes" probably don't work so well.
 

MikeNewYork

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Because this is a fragment, it is impossible to determine whether it is a participle or a gerund. A gerund would be a noun; a participle would part of a verb or a modifier of another word.

Gerund: I am tired of seeing laughing my ass off in messages.

Present participle in a verb (past continuous form): I was laughing my ass off for hours.

Participle as a modifier (adjective): Laughing my ass off, I left the movie and went home.
 

BobK

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On the other hand "laughing your arse" or "crying your eyes" probably don't work so well.

Touché. I used 'add a preposition' as shorthand. You intensify 'laugh/cry' by making it into a phrasal verb and adding a dummy object.

b
 

Tdol

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Because this is a fragment, it is impossible to determine whether it is a participle or a gerund.

In most internet contexts, it stands alone, so I think that it is hard to make much of a case for the gerund or adjective with LMAO.
 

5jj

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In most internet contexts, it stands alone, so I think that it is hard to make much of a case for the gerund or adjective with LMAO.
It's a verb - past simple. The first word is 'laughed'.

;-)
 

MikeNewYork

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I agree, Tdol. I was just highlighting the possibilities for the word.
 

Viktor Sorokin

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Gerund: I am tired of seeing laughing my ass off in messages.

Present participle in a verb (past continuous form): I was laughing my ass off for hours.

Participle as a modifier (adjective): Laughing my ass off, I left the movie and went home.
One more thing that is unclear to me is that the verb laugh (that is an intransitive verb) takes a direct object "ass". How can that be?
 

BobK

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One more thing that is unclear to me is that the verb laugh (that is an intransitive verb) takes a direct object "ass". How can that be?
:up: Exactly. See my last post. The phrasal verb 'laugh <thing> off' is transitive.

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MikeNewYork

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Laugh can be used transitively.

At first I was upset, but then I laughed it off.
He laughed a huge guffaw.
He laughed a blood-curdling laugh.


This is similar to "cried my eyes out", "laughed my head off", or "worked my ass off'.
 

Viktor Sorokin

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I'm a bit confused...:?:
As I see, the two transitive verbs laugh and laugh smth off have different meanings and if we say that laugh smth off has to do with in LMAO, then it looks like "I was laughing my ass off" means (roughly) "I was laughing at my ass"... The same refers to "laughed my head off"... So it's rather "He laughed a huge guffaw" that works in LMAO (He laughed a huge guffaw =He laughed his ass off)
or am I wrong?
 

MikeNewYork

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The difference is the "laugh something off" is metaphorical, while the laugh a (kind of laugh) is literal.
 

Viktor Sorokin

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The difference is the "laugh something off" is metaphorical, while the laugh a (kind of laugh) is literal.
the point is that I have found only one meaning of the phr verb "laugh smth off"
to pretend that you are not worried about a problem or hurt by a criticism by laughing and making jokes about it:
When news of the scandal first came out, White House staff tried to laugh it off.
Cochrane laughed off suggestions that the club was not happy with his performance, and were planning to sack him.
.... while "cry your eyes out" is an idiom
 

emsr2d2

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Context, as usual, is everything.

To say that you "laugh it off" means that whatever "it" is, you try to pretend it's not true, you make light of it, you divert attention away from it in some way or suggest that it isn't going to happen.

"To laugh one's head off" means "to laugh so hard that your head nearly falls off". You can't take "one's head" out of that phrase and replace it with the word "it" without completely changing the meaning.
 

Viktor Sorokin

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Context, as usual, is everything.

To say that you "laugh it off" means that whatever "it" is, you try to pretend it's not true, you make light of it, you divert attention away from it in some way or suggest that it isn't going to happen.

"To laugh one's head off" means "to laugh so hard that your head nearly falls off". You can't take "one's head" out of that phrase and replace it with the word "it" without completely changing the meaning.

Ok, you've given two examples: "laugh it off "and "To laugh one's head off" that have different meanings. So, is LMAO the same as the latter one, that was suggested in https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/ask-teacher/191229-lmao.html#post983847 ? ("To laugh one's head off" = "To laugh one's ass off")
 

emsr2d2

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Ok, you've given two examples: "laugh it off "and "To laugh one's head off" that have different meanings. So, is LMAO the same as the latter one, that was suggested in https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/ask-teacher/191229-lmao.html#post983847 ? ("To laugh one's head off" = "To laugh one's ass off")

Yes. "Laugh one's ass off" is a more modern variant of "laugh one's head off". Neither is anatomically likely but these days, you'll hear both. We seem to like to suggest unlikely physical effects from laughter. "I laughed until my sides split" is another.
 
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