joke vs. tease

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Narkom

Senior Member
Russian
She's not responding when you joke.
She's not responding when you tease.


Is it appropriate to use "tease" instead of "joke" in the second sentence?

Thank you!
 
  • Narkom

    Senior Member
    Russian
    For example,
    What's going on with Helen? She's not talking and not responding when you joke/tease.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It all depends on whether you are joking or teasing.
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    It also depends on whether the jokes are teasing. And some "teasing" strays into the realm of being hurtful are are more accurately called "tormenting", "taunting" or "harassing". "Mocking" falls somewhere harsher than teasing but milder than tormenting.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It all depends on whether you are joking or teasing.
    Exactly. They mean different things. You could do either one. We have no way of knowing here which one you mean. Whichever it is, she might not respond.

    This question is a bit like asking: "Which is correct: 'I saw a red car' or 'I saw a blue car'?" Either of them could be correct. Unless we know something about the car you saw, we can't tell which it is.
     
    Last edited:

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I see these as very different.

    If I make a funny comment about the photocopier or the pen or the weather, it's a joke.

    If I make a funny comment about you I am teasing at best, but could be construed as harassing or creating a toxic workplace. Most people dislike being on the receiving end of this.

    So, not interchangeable. And as for teasing, learned long ago: just don't.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    So, not interchangeable. And as for teasing, learned long ago: just don't.
    My observation is that teasing almost always done at the expense of someone that is liked. I find it rare (and ugly) to tease someone who you do not like.

    Indeed, when someone teases me I take it as a sign that that person likes me. I think this is nearly universal.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    My observation is that teasing almost always done at the expense of someone that is liked. I find it rare (and ugly) to tease someone who you do not like.

    Indeed, when someone teases me I take it as a sign that that person likes me. I think this is nearly universal.
    Hmmm. Maybe I'm just bad at teasing.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    The distinction I would draw here is that teasing targets somebody (in this case, Helen). She may or may not appreciate it as relatively harmless.

    Joking, on the other hand, isn't necessarily directed at anybody, although it can be: we don't know whether it is or not in this particular case.
     
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