I lost my nerve

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Jana337, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Hello, :)

    After saying "I lost my nerve", I was told that it was not idiomatic, at least not in AE. Is it my own invention, or does anyone recognize it? :) It should mean "to lose patience", roughly.


  2. Ed the Editor

    Ed the Editor Senior Member

    Hi Jana337,

    "I lost my nerve" is a perfectly fine expression in AE, and I would think it would be in BE, as well (I'm sure I'll be corrected if it's not!).

    However, it doesn't mean "I lost my patience." It means something like "I was going to do X, but I wasn't brave enough to actually do it".

    "I lost my patience" means something like "I was waiting for X to happen, but I got tired of waiting (so I went away)."

    If the person you were talking to knew that you meant you lost your patience, s/he would be correct in telling you that it wasn't quite the right phrase. But "I lost my nerve" definitely is a grammatical and easily understandable phrase.

    I hope this is useful.

  3. maxiogee Banned

    "I lost my nerve" is idiomatic - it means to be afraid to do something, often something not particularly frightening.

    I wouldn't use it in a situation where someone loses their patience.
  4. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Thanks. :)

    You are right, it does not fit the situation very well. :)

  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I was all ready to go.
    I had all the gear on.
    I was securely tied up.
    The guy had explained everthing I needed to know.
    But when it came to the moment, I lost my nerve.

    And so, I never actually did the bungee jump.

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