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  1. Mustermisstler

    Mustermisstler Senior Member

    Hi all,
    I got the two definitions below from two different dictionaries.
    I want to know if "to get or be onto somebody" is only used to complain or converserly it can be used just to say that you have been in contact with someone.

    Oxford advanced learner's compass
    be onto somebody:
    to be talking to sb, usually in order to ask or tell them sth:
    They’ve been onto me for ages to get a job.

    MacMillan Dictionary:
    be onto somebody:
    to speak to someone in order to complain or ask something
    The neighbours have been onto me again about the dogs barking.

    Can I say, for example "I've just been onto them"? Meaning that I have been speaking to them just a little while ago.

  2. Madrid829 Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    US English, Great Lakes area
    I've never heard onto used in that way, at least not in AE. For that meaning, we would generally just say on. "He's been on me about cleaning the garage," or "I've been getting on her about finishing her homework before Sunday night." Otherwise, the only forms of onto with which I'm familiar are these: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/onto
  3. i heart queso Senior Member

    San Francisco, California
    English, Canada
    I agree with Madrid829. Let's see if a British person has anything else to say.

    But in any case, I think "I've just been onto them" to mean you've just been speaking to or complaining to someone is incorrect.
  4. Southron Partisan New Member

    English - American South
    or it would be said to mean understanding a deception or tricks. "He thinks he is fooling me, but I am onto him."
  5. Biker

    Biker Senior Member

    Chicago (USA)
    SPAIN - Native Spanish
    I like that definition:

    To have knowledge, be suspicious, or be aware of someone's actions, behavior, or intention.

    Tener a alguién pillado, calado, controlado,
  6. SydLexia Senior Member

    London, EU
    UK English
    It's perfectly OK in BrE.

    Try a search for "I've just been onto them" and you will find plenty of examples of this usage.

  7. dexterciyo

    dexterciyo Senior Member

    Español - Canarias
    Sí, es correcto en el inglés británico. Justamente figura esa frase en el diccionario Oxford:

    Un saludo.

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