hear from vs get letters

Xander2024

Senior Member
Russian
Hello everyone,

"His parents do not hear from him"
I think it's the best way to say that his parents are out of touch with him.
Some of my students tend to say "His parents do not get (any) letters from him". I make a point of saying that this sentence, albeit gramatically correct, is not idiomatic and can refer to a particular case like "they got a letter from him yesterday".
Will someone please confirm or disprove my supposition or come up with something I should know about it?

Thank you.
 
  • MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    "do not hear from him" has the meaning of, he chooses not to contact his parents anymore.

    compare
    his parents haven't heard from him (for over a month, ever since he left Delhi for Nepal. His mother is very worried.)
     

    Xander2024

    Senior Member
    Russian
    "do not hear from him" has the meaning of, he chooses not to contact his parents anymore.

    compare
    his parents haven't heard from him (for over a month, ever since he left Delhi for Nepal. His mother is very worried.)
    Your point being that "His parents do not get (any) letters from him" would mean that they are out of touch for a different reason?
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    I am a little confused by your question. Unless context tells me otherwise, I'd assume "do not get any letters from him" refers only to letters. There are lots of ways people can stay in contact with each other, so I wouldn't assume that not getting letters means no contact at all. Letters is sometimes used to mean "email," but not very often. Ordinarily letters means paper communications sent through the mail.

    I would interpret "His parents do not hear from him" to mean that they have no contact with him at all, but it's sort of an odd way to say it. It almost - not quite but almost - seems to demand some sort of explanation, e.g., "His parents do not hear from him very often" or "His parents do not hear from him unless he needs money." So if I was going to indicate that they have no contact with him, I'd say it more explicitly: "His parents do not hear from him at all."
     
    Last edited:

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I agree.

    His parents do not get any letters from him means that his parents do not get:
    1. letters

    His parents do not hear from him means that his parents do not get:
    1. letters
    2. phone calls
    3. texts
    4. emails
    5. visits
    6. messages passed through other people
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top