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Give me a Break

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Antonio, Sep 1, 2004.

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  1. Antonio Senior Member

    Monterrey
    Mexico/Spanish
    Hi Group,

    What does it mean "Give me a break" This is a common phrase that is used oftenly in sports and on the street too.

    If I am missing some other context of this phrase, please let me know.
     
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Tiene varios significados, pero suele indicar que uno no está de acuerdo.

    Ejemplo: José: I caught a fish that weighed 126 pounds!
    Mario: Give me a break! [I don't believe you!]
     
  3. Sharon

    Sharon Senior Member

    United States, English
    In English, the word 'break' is used to say that something is stopping permanently, or pausing momentarily. A person can break up with a lover/spouse (Jack and Jill have broken up, because they felt they had gone through too many problems! :p) , or break off a friendship, or take a break from anything stressful, or eat breakfast.

    http://wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=respiro&v=b I believe this will help you a bit.

    http://wordreference.com/es/translation.asp?tranword=break "Give me a break" or "a lucky break" (#7) are both expressions we use. "Un golpe de suerte." Does this mean to get hit with luck? Would this be "a stroke of luck" in English?

    Incidentally, I think #3, "sin parar" relates to a different phrase, a different post, "straight through," as in, "The band never took a break, they played straight through the concert." If I am mistaken,please correct me, but I am trying to learn Spanish, too. Is this your understanding? "Sin parar" = "straight through" (??) :confused:
     
  4. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    You say "give me a break" in the following contexts:

    1. when you don't believe what somebody says; it's a almost a scornful or mocking response.
    -I once went for 50 hours without sleep.
    -Oh, give me a break; that's impossible!

    2. when you find something ridiculous or excessive; again, you are expressing exasperation
    -She hasn't left her house for a month, since she broke up with her boyfriend.
    -Oh, give me a break; that's a bit too much!

    3. when you are being dismissive of advice or assessment you find ludicrous, unnecessary, or simply not in order
    -I think you should apologize for missing the date.
    -Oh, give me a break; she cancels on me all the time!

    Any other nuances someone can think of?
     
  5. Antonio Senior Member

    Monterrey
    Mexico/Spanish
    Straight through means nonstop in English?, you're right Sharon, nonstop means in spanish "sin parar"

    So, basically "Give me a Break" means I don't believe you, ridiculous, excessive, ludicrous, unnecessary.

    In sport if you say, "Give me a break" basically want you're saying is "Give me a chance you win", right?

    Can you give me examples using "Give me a break" in a unnecessary and excessive situation to fully understand that context too.
     
  6. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    Huh? :confused:
     
  7. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    More examples:

    "Boss, I've been working all day without a break. Can you give me a break?"

    "Professor, we have a 10-page paper to write, 2 quizzes, a test, and writing excercies. Give us a break please!"

    "You think I cheated on you?!?! Gimme* a break! I didn't do it!"

    "You are 135 years old? Give me a break. That's impossible"

    * Gimme = Give me

    Are the meanings clear to you?
     
  8. Antonio Senior Member

    Monterrey
    Mexico/Spanish
    ok, I understand the excessive one, but what about the unnecessary context?
     
  9. jacinta Senior Member

    California
    USA English
    I find coming up with examples of these expressions difficult, don't you Venus? These are words we say without thinking in a specific situation and to come up with them artificially is work! So, with that said, this is what I can think of at the moment:

    Antonio, your sentence with sports is good.
    "We're playing against the best team in town tomorrow. I hope they give us a break." as in, I hope they give us a chance to at least do well.

    A student hands in a paper to the teacher completely crumpled and illegible. The teacher says to the student with exasperation: "Come on! Give me a break." as in This is awful. Why are you doing this to me?

    I am watching TV and something very silly comes on. "Oh, give me a break!" as in This is a stupid show or commercial.
     
  10. Antonio Senior Member

    Monterrey
    Mexico/Spanish
    "Give me a break" could also be the same thing as "Oh!, Please".
     
  11. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    Yes.

    "You're 135 years old? Oh please That's impossible."
    "You think I cheated on you?!? Oh please. I didn't do it!"

    Jacinta: Yah, I know! I didn't realize how many subtle conotations or meanings one word can have (ESPECIALLY in colloquial language). Antonio's questions really make me wonder why we say what we do. :p
     
  12. Nicholas Basily Junior Member

    Cordoba
    Argentina - English and Spanish
    I think another meaning I've heard and used is "let off", sort of "stop hounding me"; a context would be a teenager who feels he's being harassed by his mum about tidying his room!
     
  13. Fisherman New Member

    English USA
    (I just found this thread; I hope it's not too late to comment.)

    I suggest:
    "Give me a break" can also have another connotation
    (other than "you can't be serious", or something similar), like:

    "Please don't judge me so harshly."

    or

    "I've been trying hard, so I think it's only fair to not be so hard on me."

    (or the idiomatic phrase

    "Cut me some slack", which I guess raises another question for translation, but I hope you see that it means about the same thing.)
     
  14. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    We no longer allow bilingual threads in English Only, or the accumulation of lists.

    This thread is still entertaining and useful. :)
    But it is closed.

    If you have a further question about 'give me a break' or any other expression mentioned here, search for another thread. If you find none, you may start a new thread yourself. :)

    Cagey, moderator.
     
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