Put your hand up (= admit)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Li'l Bull, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Li'l Bull

    Li'l Bull Senior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    Hi, native speakers of English!

    I've come across this sentence: 'I totally put my hand up.' From the context, I guess it means 'to admit something': this is a British speaker admitting she did something that hurt her partner's feelings (i.e. going out, flirting...).

    Are you familiar with this usage of 'to put your hand up' (= admit something)?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hi, Li'l Bull

    Please note that there are also non-native speakers of English around here! :D

    To answer your question, I would take 'put my hand up' to mean 'to support someone/something'. One puts his or her hand up when voting, for example.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  3. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    Greetings

    "Yes, I'll put my hand up to that" does indeed mean, "I admit it". But it is colloquial, not literary.
     
  4. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    The more general description is that by raising your hand in a group of people you identify yourself answering yes to a question. A typical situation is "Who knows the answer? If you do, raise your hand" as a common situation in a classroom. Or "Who agrees with me?" or "Who supports this proposal?" Etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  5. Li'l Bull

    Li'l Bull Senior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    Thanks, Scholiast. Is it necessary to say it in the future tense (i.e. I'll put my hand up) or you can use it in the present tense as well? I'm saying this because I think I understood "I totally put my hand up", but I might be wrong.

    Thank you, dreamlike. :) I didn't mean to offend or shut anyone out, but with certain expressions, such as the one in hand, it seems logical to think that only a native speaker (British, in this case) can answer.
     
  6. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Unknown over here as an metaphorical expression, as far as I know.

    We do perform the action literally, as JulianStuart mentions above.
     
  7. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    (I had never heard of the expression used metaphorically before either :D)
     
  8. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    No, not in BE. I'll put my hand up to/for that = yes, I admit it, it was me. The subject sentence"I totally put my hand up" is fine as colloquial BE and may be present or past tense without having more context. Also note that "I'll put my hand up" is also in the present and not describing a future event.

    Q. Who left all these dirty cups in the sink?
    A. Sorry, I'll put my hand up for that.

    Just making sure that Scholiast isn't a lone voice for BE. :)
     
  9. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I see, I wouldn't know that. My interpretation seemed logical to me. :)
     
  10. boozer Senior Member

    Bulgaria
    Bulgarian
    :D I agree entirely with Julian's explanation. Even you could have easily guessed it derives from a standard classroom situation where the teacher asks a question and those who can answer put their hands up. If the teacher (or whoever) asks 'Has anyone hurt their partner's feelings' then she 'totally puts her hand up'. Maybe you simply did not think of it.

    I would not call this an idiom - I would call it creative and imaginative (well, not particularly :D) speaking that can occur in any language provided that the school situation in question is standard in the respective country. It could easily be said in my language as we are all familiar with the image.

    (And now someone will say this is all rubbish and there really is such an idiom in circulation :D )
     
  11. Li'l Bull

    Li'l Bull Senior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    It's rather clear this expression is British English only.

    Thank you all for your comments, though.
     
  12. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Interestingly, if you look in Google books (using the Ngram viewer) you find the expression "put my hand up for" (note lower case) in print from around 1980 and all the instances are (in books identified by Google as) American English. On the other hand, use the same expression in a simple Google search, you find more BrE hits than AmE hits, but not exclusively by any means.
     
  13. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Yes, I would, and (correct) it really is in circulation - the explanation of the origin is fine - teacher "who did that?", sinning child raises his hand to confess - it is specifically derived from the disciplinary context, not from just putting a hand up to answer a question (you get stars for that).
     
  14. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    In BE, we can say "I hold my hand up" if we want to admit to something. Perhaps the speaker was searching for that and couldn't find the right verb. I have never heard "I put my hand up" used to make an admission.
     

Share This Page