Poor you

Discussion in 'English Only' started by nurdug51, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. nurdug51 Senior Member

    What do you say when you pity somebody?
    Is there such a phrase as 'Poor you'?
  2. tepatria Senior Member

    Onondaga, Ontario
    Canadian English
    "Poor you" is used when you think someone is complaining too much and looking for pity. "Poor you, your wife didn't have the dinner ready when you got home."
    I'm so sorry and that's too bad are a couple of more sincere ways to express this.
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    "Poor you," is often said.
    Often it is said sarcastically - when someone is complaining about something that you think is quite trivial.

    Edit: Alternatively, read tepatria, above.
  4. The Scrivener Banned

    On the "naughty step".
    England. English
    Yes, nurdug51. If you feel sorry for someone you can say, "Poor you."


    "I have an awful headache, it just won't go away."

    "Oh, poor you. Can I get you some pain killers and a glass of water? I could also look after your children if you like. They can come and play with my two, to give you some peace and quiet."
  5. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    Same here, I often say "poor you" in an endearing way.

    --Oh, poor you, let me kiss the wound.
  6. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    "Poor you" would not be unheard of in my part of the world.

    If the person is being self-pitying, one would often hear "Oh, poor baby".
  7. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    English (USA)
    Hi, Dimcl.

    I agree with Dimcl's note, but the question should be posed: How well do you know the person? On what kind of terms?

    If you're very close, then "Poor baby" would be very appropriate. If it's your boss, it wouldn't be. :) More appropriate there would be "You poor bastard." (Just kidding)

    You can also say things like "Ouch." Or, "God, what happened to you?" Or, "That's terrible." Or, with more levity, "I can feel your pain."
  8. Yavi New Member

    can we say "Oh, he is poor" in the same context?
  9. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    It would mean that he is poor, (having little money) or he is not well, for example, he has a head-ache.


    PS.. Welcome to the forum
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  10. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Hullo, Englishers.

    Does "Poor thing!" still exist, I wonder?

    PS @ Yavi. "Poor thing!" used to be the standard translation of "miskiin!"
  11. Yavi New Member

    Hi, Thanks for the the Arabic transletiration :)
    Can we use "Poor thing!" even for people?
    The thing is that yesteday I was talking about my friend and I said "he is so poor", then they told me that I can't use it like this if I don't mean that he is really poor and doesn't have mony.
  12. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Your friends are right.
    "You are poor" does not express compassion — it's a statement of fact about the interlocutor's financial situation.
    Yes, "poor thing!" used to be employed for people (and for animals, of course) when expressing special concern or compassion.
    I'm still waiting, though, for an answer to my question whether "Poor thing!" is still being used by native speakers of English.

  13. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Hello Spiz;)
    On a recent visit to England I heard "You poor thing!" used sarcastically. I'd consider it more old-fashioned to say "Poor thing, he's lost his job", but not bizarre.
  14. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I think "Poor thing!" is still used by some ("Poor thing!" when talking about a third party; "You poor thing!" when talking to the person affected. I don't think I have ever used either.)
  15. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    I don't think that "Poor thing!" was ever that common, mainly as the context in which it would be used was rare. I have said it of animals but very rarely of people. I have said "Poor bloke/fellow/you/me/<name>" of people but could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I actually said it.

    I suspect it is commoner with women and those over, say, 50.

    HERE is the N-gram (BE).
  16. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Thank you, Ein.

    Then I'll consider myself old-fashioned but not bizarre — which isn't at all bad, these days. :)

  17. _Natalie_ Member

    English - Australia
    I still hear "poor thing" down this end of the world, although it can often be sarcastic.
  18. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I don't really use it, but my wife does, especially when talking to the rabbits and they've been out in the rain - and she does it in her talking-to-animal voice.

    Don't let her hear you think she's over 50, because she isn't quite 50 yet! :eek:

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