boost someone’s courage

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Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

I wonder if it is idiomatic to say things like this:


"Silver wanted to express his love to the girl, so he took the liquor to boost the courage."


Does the phrase "boost the courage" makes sense?


Thanks
 
  • Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    The second part doesn't make sense to me. What do you mean "take the liquor"? The phrase means, in other words, make someone braver/more courageous. You could say "his words boosted my courage".
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Hi, Ta

    "Take the liquor", means to have a few cups of liquor. I mean this might be a Chinglish. Let me tell you more why I use "take the liquor", in China, there is a famous and funny thing to do when you want to express your love to a girl, imagine you and the gilr who love are in a pub or maybe some places you can have a drink, or maybe a restaurant, usually you date with her, you guys are together for a dinner or lunch, anyhow, there are only two persons, one is you and the other is the girl who you like, you feel shy because you are afraid of being refused by her, so you take the liquor, because when you are a little bit intoxicated, you don't know what you say, then you have the courage to express yourself.
     

    Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    Oh, I understand now :) The use of "take" to mean "consume" isn't very common in American English, not sure about British English. And I'd use "his" instead of "the".
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I wonder if it is idiomatic to say things like this:

    "Silver wanted to express his love to the girl, so he took the liquor to boost the courage."

    Does the phrase "boost the courage" make [not "makes"] sense?
    No, and "took the liquor" doesn't either.

    In idiomatic English, it would be, "...had a few drinks to bolster his courage."
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Actually I agree with Ta, I am not saying you are wrong, Pa, but I don't know why it doesn't work when saying "boost the courage", do you mean if I say to have a few drinks, I can say boost the courage?


    I think both are ok, but can you tell me why?


    Thanks
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You could, but most people would say "... boost his courage." With "the", it sounds rather old-fashioned.
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Actually I agree with Ta, I am not saying you are wrong, Pa, but I don't know why it doesn't work when saying "boost the courage", do you mean if I say to have a few drinks, I can say boost the courage?


    I think both are ok, but can you tell me why?


    Thanks
    "the" used with "courage" usually implies that it is necessary for a specific purpose:

    I've never had the courage to talk to her.

    "the" is also necessary if we're talking about the courage of more than one person:

    I truly admire the courage of these people.

    Hope that helps.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    "the" used with "courage" usually implies that it is necessary for a specific purpose:

    I've never had the courage to talk to her.

    "the" is also necessary if we're talking about the courage of more than one person:

    I truly admire the courage of these people.

    Hope that helps.
    It does help, 88, and I guess I see where the problem is, thank you, it lies in the preposition "the" instead of the verb.

    Thanks
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I don't know why it doesn't work when saying "boost the courage"; do you mean if I say to have a few drinks, I can say "boost the courage"?
    You can use "boost," but "bolster" is a better word in this instance, in part because "bolster [someone's] courage" is a familiar collocation.

    We would not, in either case, say "the courage"; you need a possessive pronoun here, and from the context in your initial question, it's "his".
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There's also an idiom which means to take alcoholic drink to build up one's courage, Dutch courage. This sentence could read

    Silver wanted to express his love to the girl, so he had a drink to build up Dutch courage. - I'm sure you don't need to do anything of the kind, Silver.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    There's also an idiom which means to take alcoholic drink to build up one's courage, Dutch courage.
    It should be noted that this expression is (a) apparently predominantly British (it's not in common use in the US)* and (b) pejorative (insulting to the Dutch) and therefore not in the best of taste.

    *It dates from long-ago wars between England and Holland.

     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It should be noted that this expression is (a) apparently predominantly British (it's not in common use in the US)* and (b) pejorative (insulting to the Dutch) and therefore not in the best of taste.

    *It dates from long-ago wars between England and Holland.
    I don't think England has been at war with the Dutch since 1784.

    I think most Dutch people would regard the suggestion that the expression was insulting to them with derision. It's no more insulting than the expression going Dutch in a restaurant, I suspect. I have a Dutch friend who can scarcely take a drink without talking of Dutch courage.

    I take the point about its not being used in AE. You can use the expression without offending anyone in Europe, Silver. It appears you won't be understood using it across the Atlantic.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I think most Dutch people would regard the suggestion that the expression ["Dutch courage"] was insulting to them with derision. It's no more insulting than the expression going Dutch in a restaurant, I suspect. I have a Dutch friend who can scarcely take a drink without talking of Dutch courage.
    Interesting, Thomas! Here, to use a term suggesting that courage is dependent on alcohol and attributing that to a particular nationality would not sit well with most people (perhaps because the US population consists mainly of descendants of other nationalities). "Going Dutch," on the other hand, is a commonly understood expression here and has no pejorative implications, since it suggests no weakness or flaw.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Interesting, Thomas! Here, to use a term suggesting that courage is dependent on alcohol and attributing that to a particular nationality would not sit well with most people (perhaps because the US population consists mainly of descendants of other nationalities). "Going Dutch," on the other hand, is a commonly understood expression here and has no pejorative implications, since it suggests no weakness or flaw.
    No, and Dutch courage has no pejorative implications either. The attribution is not to a particular nationality, but to a national drink, gin, which the English discovered during their campaigns in Holland, in several of which they were allies of the Dutch, incidentally. I think the soldiers found that gin (Dutch courage) had a bracing effect on their spirits when the bullets started to whistle and the cannons to roar. The English have long had great respect for the Dutch as soldiers and as particularly as sailors.
     
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    miss.meri91

    Senior Member
    English - South Africa
    Interesting, Thomas! Here, to use a term suggesting that courage is dependent on alcohol and attributing that to a particular nationality would not sit well with most people (perhaps because the US population consists mainly of descendants of other nationalities). "Going Dutch," on the other hand, is a commonly understood expression here and has no pejorative implications, since it suggests no weakness or flaw.
    I find this very interesting, because South Africa, like the US, was colonized by England and we have many descendants from several nationalities as well. We were also colonized by the Dutch (a wee bit before the English came barging in). Here, it would be perfectly acceptable to use the term "Dutch courage" - I asked my boyfriend's dad about it (he's pretty much a direct descendant from the Dutch, and rather defensive of his community), and he said he's absolutely fine with it - in fact he uses it often. So I think I disagree with you that Dutch courage is an offensive term, and I would certainly use it in the context that Silver's talking about.

    However, that said, I think the best expression to use would be something like, "He had a few beers to boost his courage."
    Sweet and simple.
     
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    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I am not a native, but I am grateful for your helps.

    Indeed, I put down "Dutch courage" in my notebook but I don't even have enough time to get back to it, but according to the dictionary which I customarily use; it labels "Sometimes Offensive", here I only want to say, also the only thing I can say, is context, but I am really thankful for the recommendation.

    As for the "go Dutch", in my city, I more often than not hear people say that, "Hey, shall we go Dutch"? It is even more common than AA.
     
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