Give me a Break

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Antonio, Sep 1, 2004.

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  1. Antonio Senior Member

    Hi Group,

    What does it mean "Give me a break" This is a common phrase that is used oftenly in sports and on the street too.

    If I am missing some other context of this phrase, please let me know.
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Tiene varios significados, pero suele indicar que uno no está de acuerdo.

    Ejemplo: José: I caught a fish that weighed 126 pounds!
    Mario: Give me a break! [I don't believe you!]
  3. Sharon

    Sharon Senior Member

    United States, English
    In English, the word 'break' is used to say that something is stopping permanently, or pausing momentarily. A person can break up with a lover/spouse (Jack and Jill have broken up, because they felt they had gone through too many problems! :p) , or break off a friendship, or take a break from anything stressful, or eat breakfast. I believe this will help you a bit. "Give me a break" or "a lucky break" (#7) are both expressions we use. "Un golpe de suerte." Does this mean to get hit with luck? Would this be "a stroke of luck" in English?

    Incidentally, I think #3, "sin parar" relates to a different phrase, a different post, "straight through," as in, "The band never took a break, they played straight through the concert." If I am mistaken,please correct me, but I am trying to learn Spanish, too. Is this your understanding? "Sin parar" = "straight through" (??) :confused:
  4. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    You say "give me a break" in the following contexts:

    1. when you don't believe what somebody says; it's a almost a scornful or mocking response.
    -I once went for 50 hours without sleep.
    -Oh, give me a break; that's impossible!

    2. when you find something ridiculous or excessive; again, you are expressing exasperation
    -She hasn't left her house for a month, since she broke up with her boyfriend.
    -Oh, give me a break; that's a bit too much!

    3. when you are being dismissive of advice or assessment you find ludicrous, unnecessary, or simply not in order
    -I think you should apologize for missing the date.
    -Oh, give me a break; she cancels on me all the time!

    Any other nuances someone can think of?
  5. Antonio Senior Member

    Straight through means nonstop in English?, you're right Sharon, nonstop means in spanish "sin parar"

    So, basically "Give me a Break" means I don't believe you, ridiculous, excessive, ludicrous, unnecessary.

    In sport if you say, "Give me a break" basically want you're saying is "Give me a chance you win", right?

    Can you give me examples using "Give me a break" in a unnecessary and excessive situation to fully understand that context too.
  6. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    Huh? :confused:
  7. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    More examples:

    "Boss, I've been working all day without a break. Can you give me a break?"

    "Professor, we have a 10-page paper to write, 2 quizzes, a test, and writing excercies. Give us a break please!"

    "You think I cheated on you?!?! Gimme* a break! I didn't do it!"

    "You are 135 years old? Give me a break. That's impossible"

    * Gimme = Give me

    Are the meanings clear to you?
  8. Antonio Senior Member

    ok, I understand the excessive one, but what about the unnecessary context?
  9. jacinta Senior Member

    USA English
    I find coming up with examples of these expressions difficult, don't you Venus? These are words we say without thinking in a specific situation and to come up with them artificially is work! So, with that said, this is what I can think of at the moment:

    Antonio, your sentence with sports is good.
    "We're playing against the best team in town tomorrow. I hope they give us a break." as in, I hope they give us a chance to at least do well.

    A student hands in a paper to the teacher completely crumpled and illegible. The teacher says to the student with exasperation: "Come on! Give me a break." as in This is awful. Why are you doing this to me?

    I am watching TV and something very silly comes on. "Oh, give me a break!" as in This is a stupid show or commercial.
  10. Antonio Senior Member

    "Give me a break" could also be the same thing as "Oh!, Please".
  11. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States

    "You're 135 years old? Oh please That's impossible."
    "You think I cheated on you?!? Oh please. I didn't do it!"

    Jacinta: Yah, I know! I didn't realize how many subtle conotations or meanings one word can have (ESPECIALLY in colloquial language). Antonio's questions really make me wonder why we say what we do. :p
  12. Nicholas Basily Member

    Argentina - English and Spanish
    I think another meaning I've heard and used is "let off", sort of "stop hounding me"; a context would be a teenager who feels he's being harassed by his mum about tidying his room!
  13. Fisherman New Member

    English USA
    (I just found this thread; I hope it's not too late to comment.)

    I suggest:
    "Give me a break" can also have another connotation
    (other than "you can't be serious", or something similar), like:

    "Please don't judge me so harshly."


    "I've been trying hard, so I think it's only fair to not be so hard on me."

    (or the idiomatic phrase

    "Cut me some slack", which I guess raises another question for translation, but I hope you see that it means about the same thing.)
  14. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    We no longer allow bilingual threads in English Only, or the accumulation of lists.

    This thread is still entertaining and useful. :)
    But it is closed.

    If you have a further question about 'give me a break' or any other expression mentioned here, search for another thread. If you find none, you may start a new thread yourself. :)

    Cagey, moderator.
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