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be on someone Options
DavidLearn
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:09:45 PM

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Hello teachers,
What's the meaning of 'on me' or 'be on someone'? Is it 'to give pressure to someone', 'to pressure someone'?
Context:
A: Wait, wait, wait. Finding Your Perfect Someone. What's, what's this all about?
B: Well. It's a . . . It's just a marital relations class. You know about finding a partner. You know, mom is always, you know, on me about that. What does it matter to you anyway?

Thanks.
tunaafi
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:23:53 PM

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Are you sure the original was not 'on at me'?
Romany
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:29:15 PM
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I was just about to suggest that, too.

Or, it could be "on my back".

But to be "on" someone conjures up a very strange picture indeed!!

(I picture "Mum" hurling herself across the room, taking a flying jump and landing on her daughter.)
DavidLearn
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:30:48 PM

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tunaafi wrote:
Are you sure the original was not 'on at me'?

Hello tunaafi; Romany
Thank you. Yes I am. Another thing is if it's properly written.
Here is the link: http://www.esl-lab.com/textbooks/textbookssc1.htm

David.
tunaafi
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:39:23 PM

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The (AmE) idiom is explained there:

be on someone (phrasal verb): complain about someone or something that a person does
- His wife is always on him for spending so much money on textbooks and then not attending classes regularly.
thar
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:42:19 PM

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I think 'on me' may be more American?
Edit. Xpost with tunaafi.

I understand it as ' on at me, on my case, nagging me, pressuring me' (those two are a bit strong)

My mom is on me to find a girlfriend.

But, ahem, a 'marital relations' class? When did that stop meaning 'having sex'?

What sort of class is it?
Or what sort of book is it?Whistle
Romany
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 3:09:02 PM
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I also goggled a bit at that.

I'm so glad you asked.

Sounded very dodgy to me.
NKM
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 5:10:25 PM

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For us Americans, "on me" is effectively the same as "on my case".

- "Mom keeps getting on me about my so-called lifestyle. I just wish she'd get off my case."

(Note -- decidedly informal.)

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 6:58:16 PM

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Oh - didn't know that.

As Romany and thar suggested, the British informal is "She always on at me about that." (nagging).


marital relations n. pl. (usu. takes singular verb)
Sexual intercourse between two people who are married to each other.

Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
DavidLearn
Posted: Monday, December 7, 2015 1:55:01 AM

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Hello teachers,
Thank you all for your help. Now I think I have a much better idea about that.
If i'm not mistaken 'Be on someone':
a) Complaining about something or someone that a person does in order to change the way they do something.
b) Pressuring someone about what that person does in order to change the way they do something.

What isn't completely clear is the 'on my case'. Could you give me a couple of examples with the meaning?

David.
Romany
Posted: Monday, December 7, 2015 6:26:10 AM
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It's the phrase non-AE speakers use instead of "on me". So it's used in exactly the same way.

"...you know, Mums is always on my case about that." instead of the other BE use "...you know Mum is always on at me about that."

I am also glad I learned "on me" because, had someone said that to me, I would have giggled!
DavidLearn
Posted: Monday, December 7, 2015 11:19:13 AM

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Hello Romany,
Thank you for the explanation and example.
If you are glad too; then we have a win-win situation. Applause

David.
Sorin F. Ghinescu
Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019 4:07:12 PM

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2014 !!! Wow, so long time ago!
In a book for children, I got some guys being 'on him', 'on someone', like becoming aware, giving attention, giving assistance to that someone.
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