don't get me started about

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
-- Say, what's goin' on?
-- I'm having a little trouble with the government.
-- Oh, those jerks- always walking over the small businessman. Don't get me started about the government.
(The Simpsons)

Could you please rephrase the marked phrase so I can see what it exactly means? Thank you.
 
  • VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Not necessarily. It just means that the speaker has a bone to pick with the government.
    In this context -- yes. But I meant -- generally...
    E.g., I've found this in the Macmillan dictionary:
    GET SOMEONE STARTED
    informal
    to do or say something that makes someone talk for a long time about something
    It’s better not to get him started on that subject.
    It means that regardless of what attitude (positive or negative) he has towards the subject, he likes talking about it. Right?...
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The dictionary example means that if X raises the subject, Y will probably respond and keep talking about it for a long time. It does not imply that Y likes to raise the subject himself. In practice, he might do so; he might not.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Yes, but I didn't say Y likes to raise the subject, I said Y likes to talk about the subject (probably after someone else -- X in this case -- raised it). Is that the meaning of this expression?:)
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Hmm! It's not so much that he likes to. It's more that, because it's a subject that irks him, he will be tempted to start complaining about it and will be difficult to stop.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Hmm! It's not so much that he likes to. It's more that, because it's a subject that irks him, he will be tempted to start complaining about it and will be difficult to stop.
    Imagine a fan of Lady Gaga. He loves her and could talk about her for hours.

    So if I say:
    It’s better not to get him started on Lady Gaga -- you will not be able to stop him.

    Would it not be correct to use this expression in this context?
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Yes, see this definition from the freedictionary.com:
    don't get me started
    An exclamation of weariness or despair regarding a topic that has just been introduced and about which the speaker feels very strongly and (usually) has a negative opinion of. A: "So, what do you think of the new tax law that Congress just passed?" B: "Oh, don't get me started! If the government had its way, we'd be taxed for the privilege to breathe!"
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My impression is as follows:-

    We can say "Don't get X (person) started about [subject]" if X's attitude towards the subject is positive or negative.
    But if I say "Don't get me started about [subject]", you can assume that I would express a negative view of that subject.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    When you say "Don't get me started" you could be sparing the other person from hearing you talk about it for a long time. You're being nice to them by warning them what could happen. "If you don't want to hear me droning on and on about <whatever> then talk about something else."

    But you could also be sparing yourself from hearing yourself talk about it for a long time. You might know that it's one of those topics that makes you really mad and that the more you talk about it the more upset you'll get, without being able to stop yourself. It's like you're back in that situation all over again and you know it's not good for your mental health. You'd rather not talk about it in the first place.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    When you say "Don't get me started" you could be sparing the other person from hearing you talk about it for a long time. You're being nice to them by warning them what could happen. "If you don't want to hear me droning on and on about <whatever> then talk about something else."

    But you could also be sparing yourself from hearing yourself talk about it for a long time. You might know that it's one of those topics that makes you really mad and that the more you talk about it the more upset you'll get, without being able to stop yourself. It's like you're back in that situation all over again and you know it's not good for your mental health. You'd rather not talk about it in the first place.
    Thank you !
     
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