give up or give up on

sun 94

Banned
korean
I found a sentence as following and I wonder if give up on can be used instead of give up , which seem to be the same.

I don't want to give up on learning or
I don't want to give up learning.
 
  • brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    They mean two different things.

    to give up something = to stop doing something, to refrain from (doing) something, e.g. to give up smoking/(eating) chocolate

    to give up on something/someone means to abandon something/or someone, usually after several attempts with no success, e.g. to give up on writing a novel.

    So, they are similar, but different. You'd never say give up on smoking, for example. However, in some cases, the meanings are so similar that they're actually interchangeable.

    I don't want to give up learning = I don't want to stop learning.

    I don't want to give up on learning = I don't want to abandon learning.

    As you can see, very similar. I'd say the latter version, with on, implies that the person has been trying to learn, but continually failing, but nonetheless does not want to give up; whereas the former version implies that the person has been successfully learning and does not want to stop.

    I hope that was clear...

    Edit: Oops.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Context: Suppose some native speakers just told me that the book I had been reading was poorly written and riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. I hadn't realized the problems until they told me, so I decided to give up on that book based on their criticism.

    In this case, should I use "I gave up the book when they told me the book was poorly written"? I stopped reading it in no time after the native speakers said it was a poor book.

    Is "I gave up on the book" more appropriate in a context where I couldn't bear to finish a book after several attempts with no success?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would "give up on" the book, not "give up the book".
    To say "I gave up the book" seems to me to say that I donated the book to someone else :)
    "I gave up on the book," is a common, natural way to say that I stopped reading it for some reason.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thanks panjandrum~~ I agree with you on all counts. It seems like there's no hard and fast rule as to the difference between them, and I have to learn their use on a case-by case-basis. As for your explanation of "I give up the book", instead of donating the book, how about throwing it in the bin? :)
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Suppose I've been having a restless night and struggling to fall asleep for hours. I've tried various methods from counting sheep to narcotic sleep pills, but still, my eyelids have refused to get heavy. If I stop trying to get myself to sleep and go out for a walk, would it make sense to use "give up on" in "I've decided to give up on sleeping"?
     
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