I could do with a cup of tea.

bepleased

Banned
Chinese
Hi,

How to have the sentence make sense below to me?

"I could do with a cup of tea."

"This room could do with a good clean."


What the reason for the coming of "with"?

Could any one help me in clearing it up?

Thanks

bepleased
 
  • Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    It's an expression: X could do with Y. It means X would be better off if it had Y. I would be better off if I drank some tea. The room would be better off if someone cleaned it thoroughly.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    "To do with" in this sense means to make use of or benefit by. It's a colloquial phrase. "With", I imagine, has the instrumental (using something) sense as in "cut it with scissors". So, "I could make use of a cup of tea to my benefit".
     

    bepleased

    Banned
    Chinese
    Hi,
    Thank both very much.
    You give me a good strand for further discussion.
    Is the reason for 'with' coming that 'with' shows somthing presents / has / works an effect on / against the person in trying to do?

    If the supposition is right, I can take it into the below.

    "I can't do with all this loud music."

    = All this loud music presents / works / has an effect against me in trying to do.


    "The boys didn't know what to do with themselves when school ended."
    There, "with" can be used as a verb present or a prepoaition "in the presence of "
    to use "with" as a verb
    = The boys presented themselves not know what to do.
    = The boys didn't know what to do in the presence of themselves.

    Do you have suggestions? Thank you both very much.

    all the best

    bepleased
     
    Last edited:

    Bobbum

    Senior Member
    I think you're making a simple thing complicated. "Do with" is just another way of saying "stand."
    "I can't do with all this loud music" = "I can't stand all this loud music."
    "Not knowing what to do with yourself," is an idiom meaning you're undecided what to do.
    I think the word "do" confuses people learning English because it's used in so many ways.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    If the supposition is right, I can take it into the below.

    "I can't do with all this loud music."
    This sounds odd to my AE ears.

    = All this loud music presents / works / has an effect against me in trying to do.
    I don't believe this is what it's saying at all.

    But in the next, it seems to be not smoothly..

    "The boys didn't know what to do with themselves when school ended."
    Actually, this sounds quite good.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "I can't do with all this loud music."
    You are almost right with that - the idea is correct, but it is not colloquial. In BE it would be colloquial to say "I can't be doing with all this loud music"
    "The boys didn't know what to do with themselves when school ended."
    That is exactly right. It means that the boys could not decide what they were going to do to keep themselves occupied now that school had ended.

    "I could do with something" = I would like something or I need something.

    "I can't be doing with something" = I find something unpleasant or I find something intolerable or I find something irritating.

    "I don't know what to do with somebody" = I do not know what action to take in respect of somebody. Somebody can be myself - perhaps I am bored and I cannot think what to do, perhaps my lover has left me and I feel lonely as in this song. Somebody may be another person as "My son just stays at home and won't get a job. I just don't know what to do with him"

    These are colloquial expressions and it is probably unwise to attempt to analyse the phrase "to do with" - just accept that the "to do" is incomplete without the "with" in this particular structure.
     

    bepleased

    Banned
    Chinese
    The cause of his anger is a social networking service known as Buzz. Launched 10 days ago, it is meant to give Google a stronger foothold in the booming social networking business, where it is rapidly losing ground to Facebook and Twitter. Its main effect in the short term, however, has been to stir up an outcry over privacy that the internet giant could have done without.

    Should it belong to what kind of ?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    bepleased. I don't understand your question. The sentence you have highlighted is correct - "that" could be replaced by "which" but either is acceptable. "that" refers to "an outcry over privacy"
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Yes, bepleased, could do with and could do without are related, if that's what you're asking.
    To me, they're both understatements. I'm saying that with some hesitation as no one mentionned it so far.
    I think "I wouldn't mind having a cup of tea" would be a near synonym for the former, meaning I'd like a cup of tea.

    As for could do without, it seems to mean Google would have been no worse off if it hadn't happened, but what it really means is that they were fairly annoyed.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, bepleased, could do with and could do without are related, if that's what you're asking.
    To me, they're both understatements. I'm saying that with some hesitation as no one mentioned it so far.
    I think "I wouldn't mind having a cup of tea" would be a near synonym for the former, meaning I'd like a cup of tea.

    As for could do without, it seems to mean Google would have been no worse off if it hadn't happened, but what it really means is that they were fairly annoyed.
    You are correct. The British have long been keen on understatement. It is, unfortunately, a good way of being misunderstood (the Falklands War may well have been, in part, the result of understatement). There is a more forceful way of understating :)o) "I could really do without that" meaning, for example, "I am extremely upset about that". In the case of Google's Buzz it does not mean "they were annoyed", it means that Buzz was a potentially catastrophic business decision which caused a huge amount of anger among Googlemail users.
     
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