'get by' 'sneak by' 'pass by' 'come through' are they all synonyms?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Bonggubi, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Bonggubi

    Bonggubi Senior Member

    Hi guys

    I was just wondering if the expressions were synonyms and used interchangeably.

    For example, someone is getting in your way and you want them to move aside so that you can walk past. How would you say to them in English speaking countries?

    Would you say ..

    'Can I get by you?'
    'Can I sneak by here?'
    'Can I come through here?'
    'Can I pass by here?'

    Those are the expressions that came into my mind. If you have your own that you use in everyday situation, please tell me~
    It would be much appreciated! :):)
  2. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Hi Bonggubi, they're all acceptable. I (BrE) say "Excuse me, can I just squeeze past you?". Then the person creating the obstacle (usually :rolleyes:) has enough brain cells to realise that they are in the way.
    You can always "soften" your request (make it sound more polite) by saying "could" instead of "can", and adding "please", although cultural conventions vary.
  3. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    I would definitely not use “sneak” in the context.
    I think, in the UK, “Excuse me” carries most of the meaning in a tight spot. I might add something starting with “Can I just ...”. Hopefully by the time I’ve used these 6 syllables they’ve had the sense to move and I can say “Thanks” without needing to pick a verb. :D
  4. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    In the US, "Excuse me" is often enough. It is the thing you say at the start, when talking to a stranger. So you would say that, before any of your "Can I" sentences. And many people would see the situation and get out of your way after "Excuse me".

    If not, your 4 requests are all okay in AE.
  5. Bonggubi

    Bonggubi Senior Member

    Thanks Enquiring Mind. Great help. Easy to understand ^^

Share This Page