a tip on principle

mimi2

Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
Hi,
"My mother never gives anyone a tip on principle."
Does this sentence means “My mother doesn’t teach anyone how to behave properly.
Thanks.
 
  • mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi, Alacer.
    I am sorry. I still don't understand. Could you explain in another way?
     

    Alacer

    Senior Member
    Russia, Russian
    Well, if it is not a very slang phrase that cannot be translated without native speakers, it is quite clear to me, and I think I'm right.

    "to give a tip" = "to give a hint" = "a suggestion or implication given in an indirect or subtle manner so that you can guess what a person means"

    "on principle" = "because of or in demonstration of a principle"

    Should I give an example?
     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Alacer:
    I would like to know the meaning of the whole sentence. What does it imply?
    Thanks.
     

    Alacer

    Senior Member
    Russia, Russian
    On the assumption of the given meanings of the phrases, the whole sentence could be revealed as the following:


    "My mother never gives anyone a hint because of demonstration of a principle."

    It means "My Mother has a principle. This principle is that she does not give anyone a hint on smth." I do not know the whole context, therefore, I can't tell you the thing on which she doesn't give a hint.
     

    Alacer

    Senior Member
    Russia, Russian
    Rover, does the phrase "give a tip" means "to tip smb" in most cases?
    Isn't it used to say "give a hint"? it's interesting because I thought that native speakers say "to tip" instead of "to give a tip"..
     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Thank you very much.
    I understand completely now.
    Thank you, Alacer, for your patience to explain the word for me. Thank you Rover KE.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The first interpretation to come to this native speaker's mind is that tip = gratuity.
    The concept that someone might have a principled objection to giving advice, hints, that kind of tip is bizarre, so that simply would not occur to me.

    On the other hand, many people claim that to have principled objections to tipping people.

    The placing of on principle in the original sentence, of course, leads to the potential misreading.
    <original> My mother never gives anyone a tip on principle.
    <with a comma> My mother never gives anyone a tip, on principle.
    <re-ordered> On principle, my mother never gives anyone a tip.
     

    Xander2024

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hello everyone,

    Would it be correct to say:

    "Why on Earth did he do that?"
    "On principle."

    Or maybe I could use the construction "on a matter of principle"?

    "He won't help you? But why?"
    "On a matter of principle. He thinks it beneath him."

    Are my examples correct and natural?

    Thank you.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "On principle" is more natural in conversation. If you want the longer form "as a matter of principle" seems more natural to me than using "on".
     
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