leave out something on purpose or accidentally

hboo

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello,

One of the definitions of "leave out" by the Wordreference Dictionary is "to omit or exclude"; and the meaning of "omit" by Oxford Dictionary is "to not include something/somebody either deliberately or because you have forgotten it/them". So I take it using phrase "leave out" alone without adding words such as "deliberately" or "accidentally", I can't make clear which is the case, for example, in the following context:

When I tell someone a story at two separate times, the second time with more details than the first time, the conversation goes as below:

Friend:"You didn't tell me this last time."
Me:"I left out some details." - which would not be clear whether I did it on purpose or accidentally, am I right?

So I changed the sentences to the following:

Friend:"You didn't tell me this last time."
Me:"I left out some details on purpose." (to mean "I chose not to tell the details last time")

Or in an opposite scenario:
Me: "I left out some details accidentally." (to mean "I forgot some details last time")

Are both sentences "I left out some details on purpose." and "I left out some details accidentally." natural?

Thanks.
 
  • SReynolds

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    To me, in this specific context, left out implies that you did the omission on purpose (to improve brevity or clarity). If I wanted to emphasize that you forgot about some aspect of the story, I'd say I accidentally left out some details. [Putting the adverb after the subject puts more emphasis on the accidental part.]

    This is my personal interpretation, though, so it may not be completely accurate.
     
    "left out" stands on its own and does not need further clarification unless the actual situation in conversation really calls for it, and it would be conversation, not the phrase itself asking for clarication. The Oxford Dictionary was just adding further information beyond the strict definition.

    I left out some details = I omitted some details. (on purpose or accidentally is not required at all.)

    "I banged my knee on the car door" stands on its own. "banged" does not require an explanation of whether is was an accident or on purpose. ;)
     
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    hboo

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "left out" stands on its own and does not need further clarification unless the actual situation in conversation really calls for it, and it would be conversation, not the phrase itself asking for clarication.
    Thanks. But my question is, when the context itself isn't clear about that, and I want to make it clear, could I say:"I left out some details on purpose." or"I left out some details accidentally."? Are these two sentences natural at all?
     
    Not really, only because it's too much repetition of entire phrases after I left out some details has already been uttered:

    "I left out some details on purpose." or"I left out some details accidentally.":cross: awkward

    "I left them out on purpose." "I left them out deliberately." or "I left them out accidentally/by accident"

    And if all that is already known by the conversation, it can be reduced even further by reducing "all that" to "it."

    " I did it on purpose."

    "I did it accidentally."
     
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    Let me show you, though, what I've been talking about. Leave out just means omit. It's a phrasal verb with no intention or drama.

    You work for an editor. By definition you collaborate with him and have in fact offered some suggestions, but he makes the final decisions due to his experience, naturally.

    He says, "I left out some details." (Maybe some of his, maybe some of yours). Or: He meant to include some but forgot, which would not be called an "accident."

    He says, "Oh, I see I forgot to include something" I don't think you would fall apart in tears or he would get down on his knees and beg your forgiveness since he owes you no further explanation. :D
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    There's an expression which means, "I/He (etc) did something intentionally, but wanted to make it seem like an oversight.": "accidentally on purpose".
     

    icefire112233

    Member
    Malaysia - Mandarin Chinese
    There's an expression which means, "I/He (etc) did something intentionally, but wanted to make it seem like an oversight.": "accidentally on purpose".
    I would say that it's "on purpose":)
    "Accidentally on purpose" means "I/He (etc) did something intentionally, but wanted to make it seem like an oversight.", but it's not used in formal writing.
     
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    hboo

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks so much for the help. But for some reason I still don't get it. Maybe I better ask this way:

    In this context: when personA tells a story to personB at two separate times, the second time with more details than the first time:

    A:"Oh, you didn't tell me this last time."
    B:"I left out some details." - which would be NOT clear whether personB didn't tell the details on purpose or accidentally, do I understand it correctly?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    When I tell someone a story at two separate times, the second time with more details than the first time, the conversation goes as below:

    Friend:"You didn't tell me this last time."
    Me:"I left out some details." - which would not be clear whether I did it on purpose or accidentally, am I right?
    Yes.
    So I changed the sentences to the following:

    Friend:"You didn't tell me this last time."
    Me:"I left out some details on purpose." (to mean "I chose not to tell the details last time")
    That's fine.
    Or in an the opposite scenario:
    Me: "I left out some details accidentally." (to mean "I forgot some details last time")
    Hmmm... yes, but "I accidentally left out some details ." or "I left out some details by mistake." are probably more idiomatic.
    Are both sentences "I left out some details on purpose."
    Yes.
    and "I left out some details accidentally." natural?
    Yes, but see above.
     
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