Give up / leave off

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
I wonder if you fill in the following blank:
Example: You're killing yourself! I think you’d better...............alcohol for awhile.
a) give up
b) leave off
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[I have written this example myself]
[I think both of them mean exactly the same thing but "b" is BE informal (I am not sure)]
 
  • A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    I might say 'give up alcohol', 'give up the alcohol', 'leave/stay/keep off the alcohol', or 'leave out the alcohol'.
    Wow; great response Beryl. Are these verbs all mean the same from politeness point of view (which one is spoken and which one can be considered as a formal verb?) and can I use them interchangeably for other habits too? (e.g. smoking) :)
     
    Last edited:

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I would only use 'leave off' with an action: e.g. 'leave off smoking'.
    'Give up' can be used with objects or actions: e.g. 'give up cigarettes', 'give up smoking'.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    I would only use 'leave off' with an action: e.g. 'leave off smoking'.
    'Give up' can be used with objects or actions: e.g. 'give up cigarettes', 'give up smoking'.
    And what about "(stay / keep) off" and "leave out" dear wandle? :) Meanwhile doesn't it seem a matter of style for you? Because as you see, Beryl has used all of these phrasal verbs with the noun "alcohol". Could you explain it a little bit more? ;)
     
    Last edited:

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In colloquial use, both 'stay off' and 'keep off' fit the original context (even when the person is an active user at the time).
    'Leave out' is a slightly different meaning, but is also colloquially used in that context.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    In colloquial use, both 'stay off' and 'keep off' fit the original context (even when the person is an active user at the time).
    'Leave out' is a slightly different meaning, but is also colloquially used in that context.
    So as far as I understood you mean that "give up" and "leave off" are used in more formal contexts while "keep off" and "stay off" and "leave out" are used mostly colloquially! Am I right wandle? ;)
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In post 6, I refer to colloquial use because the expressions mentioned there are commonly used in such contexts, but are not precise terms.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    In post 6, I refer to colloquial use because the expressions mentioned there are commonly used in such contexts, but are not precise terms.
    Thanks dear Wandle
    I got the point; so depending on the context, they all can be used in formal and spoken styles. Finally I would be really thankful if you tell me about your preference about using "keep off" and "stay off" and "leave out" with an object and an act; (As you cited, you would rather use 'leave off' with an action and 'Give up' with objects. How do you thing about "keep off" and "stay off" and "leave out")
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Are these verbs all mean the same from politeness point of view (which one is spoken and which one can be considered as a formal verb?) and can I use them interchangeably for other habits too?
    I think that when you've just told someone 'you're killing yourself!', suddenly, all bets are off as regards politeness.
    "Leave off the alcohol" is probably the coarsest of the bunch.
    I think I gave my range of options in post#2, albeit in telescopic form.
    I wouldn't say any of the following: "leave off alcohol", "stay off alcohol", "keep off alcohol", "leave out alcohol" in the given context.

    I don't want to go into too much more detail on this for fear of things becoming horrendously complicated.

    I think wandle has made some good suggestions.
     
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