get away with sighing

Alex Coseff

Senior Member

could you please tell me what exactly is implied by the phrase in bold? I do understand the meaning, I assume that the implication lies somewhere else rather than the literal meaning. Any chance it could be something like: "If he could have shown him how little he cared he would have done it?" Many thanks.

Background info: Stuart is an elderly man, a desk sergeant at the police station, whose heart is really not in the job. He doesn´t like helping people and his behaviour is frowned upon even by many of his colleagues. A young man Patrick is coming to the reception to put in a complaint.

V. Jenkins: The girls in the water
I want to put in a complaint."
If Stuart could have got away with sighing, he would have. As things stood, he had already been spoken to in recent months about his lack of customer service skills and was subsequently feigning best behaviour.
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, your interpretation is correct. He couldn’t “get away with” sighing to show his lack of interest because he’d already been in trouble for that kind of behaviour.


    Senior Member
    English - USA
    To me, the sigh Stuart isn't allowed to make doesn't indicate his lack of caring, but his exasperation at being asked to do something.
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