Be glad to see the back of...

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TroubleEnglish

Senior Member
Russian
I'm confused, my friends. I discovered the phrase

Be glad to ses the back of

In the examples I found things like

It's Zara's last day at work and she fears that everyone will be glad to see the back of her.

This year’s been awful, I’ll be glad to see the back of it


To be honest I was glad to see the back of him when he finally left

Actually I thought this phrase supposed to have "of his", "of mine", "of hers" etc, not "of him", "of me", "of her".
It would be a mistake to use it the way I thought or both variants are acceptable?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Your idea doesn’t work. The idiom (I think) implies:

    I’ll be glad to see the back of him = I’ll be glad to see his back as he walks away
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Your idea doesn’t work. The idiom (I think) implies:

    I’ll be glad to see the back of him = I’ll be glad to see his back as he walks away
    But why are they different?

    "His back" has "his". It's possession. What changes for "the back of..."? It's the same possession. It should be "the back of his".

    It's like "a friend of mine". It doesn't seem right to say "A friend of me". How can a friend be you? It can be yours.

    The same stuff with

    A picture of my father

    A picture of my father's


    They are different
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Just because it’s an idiom, perhaps? They usually only work one way, otherwise they cease to be idioms.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This phrase is entirely normal:
    I was glad to see him.

    This phrase is not:
    I was glad to see his.

    So this is normal:
    I was glad to see the back (view) of him.

    And this is not:
    I was glad to see the back (view) of his.

    It's a view of his back (that other people see). It's not a view that belongs to him.

    It's trickier in the female case because "her" has two different meanings.

    her/his
    her/him

    It can obscure the meaning and be confusing if you don't understand the difference in context.
     
    Last edited:

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    This phrase is entirely normal:
    I was glad to see him.

    This phrase is not:
    I was glad to see his.

    So this is normal:
    I was glad to see the back (view) of him.

    And this is not:
    I was glad to see the back (view) of his.

    It's a view of his back (that other people see). It's not a view that belongs to him.

    It's trickier in the female case because "her" has two different meanings.

    her/his
    her/him

    It can obscure the meaning and be confusing if you don't understand the difference in context.
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I seem to having understood it! I thought "back" meant the body part like a head, a stomach, a back. This is why I wanted to say that if the back belonged to him it was his back(a back of his/mine/hers and so one). If to take it like a view that doesn't belong to him personally, then it becomes clearer! Thank you!;)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It does mean his back in the sense of that part of his body. But it’s a figurative use implying I’m glad, or I’ll be glad, to watch him walk away – and as he walks away, what I’ll see is the back of him (i.e. his back).
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's the back view of him but it's not his view of his back, it's someone else's view of his back. They see the back of him. (They don't see the side or the front.)
     
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