I'll pass

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Xavier da Silva, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Hello everyone,

    Context: In a classroom, students are answering questions orally and they can choose not to answer when they are not sure what to answer or simply don't want to. My question: Is it natural/correct to use "I'll pass" for this context?

    An example I made:

    Teacher: John, it's your turn to answer. Who discovered Brazil? John: I'll pass.

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    English - US
    If the teacher has given them the option to do so, they can say that, yes. In such a context, the student would probably just say "Pass," (informal) or "I pass the question" (formal).
  3. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    I'm not sure I'd use it in a teacher/student context (it would be a bit rude for a student to talk to a teacher that way), but otherwise yes. :)
  4. dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    Yes, that is a normal response, in your context where "passing" is acceptable instead of answering.

    To me, it seems more logical to use present tense ("I pass") since it is something the student is doing right at this moment (by saying these words). And "I pass" is acceptable here.

    But for some odd reason, it is also normal to use the future tense for something we are doing in the present ("I'll pass").
  5. cadmus123

    cadmus123 New Member

    Hello, recently my country's legislators made a conversation:

    A: Would you like to sign my petition?

    B: I'll pass

    A: Thanks! (A puts B name into the petition)

    I understand the idiom when it is used on the dining tables people sharing food or other daily situation.

    The situation I give in my post makes me confused because the idiom is used in the conservation between legislators about a petition.

    The response from B suggests me a different meaning from the idiom-"I'll pass" in daily use that B would like his name put on the petition.

    Is there anything wrong with me?
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  6. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    English English
    Welcome to the forum, Cadmus:)
    Your country's legislators appear to have created a conversation that doesn't make any sense:confused::(
  7. cadmus123

    cadmus123 New Member

    Thank you Ewie.

    Let me try to explain. Hope I would not make it worse. My English level is so so.

    A: was trying to ask if B would like to be in(sign) the petition/declaration in response to recent issue happening in my country

    B: simply gave a response: 'I'll pass'; what he tried to mean here was he would refuse.

    A: Understood B differently that B would like to pass the petition and give credit to it. So A put B's name into the petition as well.

    I agree it is definitely strange for Chinese to use idioms in an improper context....
  8. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    English (American)
    What's your question, Cadmus? "I'll pass" in any context means "No, thanks; I don't want that." Is that what's confusing you?

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