I heard a homosexual acquaintance say he'd given up on women when he was 15 or something. Could you just explain to me what the difference is between saying "give up on women", "give up women" or "give up with women"?
To 'give up on women' means to quit them. He no longer will date women or have any kind of intimate relationship with them. That's what that implies based on the situation.
Hmm...interesting question. When I think about it...I said to myself 'I'm giving up on smoking.' It implies that I tried smoking (and thought it would make me feel better/good) but discovered that it does nothing for me. Smoking has let me down. So I'm 'giving up on it.'
With 'I'm giving up smoking,' to me that means solely to quit. I will no longer smoke.
The fact that your friend said he's giving up on women...it implies that he's tried to like women. He's tried to make it work but he's just not into them.
If he says, "I'm giving up women." It doesn't imply much to me. It more means he will no longer have romantic relationships with them.
I hope that that makes sense.
There might hardly be a difference between the two. 'To give up' might just be short for 'to give up on.' It matters the speaker because to some it may be the same thing.
For the most part, I agree with Languagethinkerlover.
1. I'm giving up women.
I think that people normally give up something rather than someone. I'm giving up candy means that I will not eat it anymore. The only exception that I can think of is this: I'm giving up my baby for adoption. To me, the act of giving up women sounds like it's Lent and someone is going to force themselves to not be involved with women sexually.
2. I'm giving up on women.
Like the first poster said, this means that the person tried to like women and was not able to have romantic feelings for them. Here is another example: the teacher is giving up on the lazy student. In this case, the teacher tried to help the student and was unsuccessful, so she isn't going to try anymore.
It's also possible to give up on something. I'm giving up on this diet; I've been trying it, and I haven't lost any weight.
3. I'm giving up with women.
I think that this means the same thing as I'm giving up on women, but grammatically, it sounds awkward using the preposition "with."