Neglect duty/Slack off

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

I'd like to know about these two terms "neglect duty" and "slack off".

Context:

My uncle asked me to take care of my cousin because she's getting naughty. She won't do her homework till someone watch her. Yesterday when I went to get a cup of water, I saw her playing cards and I said:

Don't neglect your duties!

But later I asked my teacher, a Chinese one, this question, she said you should say:

Don't slack off!

I am wondering if both are correct?

Thanks a lot
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't think I'd use either one here if there were only one task involved -- in this case, "homework." I would just say: Do your homework.

    Don't neglect your duties
    sounds a little corporate (or Chinese, if I may say that :)) -- advice from management about tending to all the duties you are responsible for (or when talking to several employees, each of whom may be responsible for one job).

    Don't slack off
    also isn't something I would use here in that form. Perhaps Stop slacking off.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Dear Copy,

    When you said "sounds a little Chinese", do you mean that it sounds like Chinglish?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    No, I mean it is an example of the somewhat serious and sincere and formal phrasing that I've come to associate with Chinese advice or admonition. Not incorrect, but not very idiomatic.
     
    Last edited:

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    "Do your homework" sounds nice and neutral in this context, I agree.
    But I also hear "don't slack off" or "s/he's such a slacker", "don't be a slacker" quite frequently especially among teenagers; it is quite informal and I think it would work well in this context as well.
    "Don't neglect your duties" sounds too formal when you're talking homework, at least to my Midwestern ear...
    Bic.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Do your homework" sounds nice and neutral in this context, I agree.
    But I also hear "don't slack off" or "s/he's such a slacker", "don't be a slacker" quite frequently especially among teenagers; it is quite informal and I think it would work well in this context as well.
    "Don't neglect your duties" sounds too formal when you're talking homework, at least to my Midwestern ear...
    Bic.
    Can we say the following sentences?

    1. "s/he's slacking off."

    2. "s/he's slackening."

    3. "I'll be slacking off next week."

    4."I'll be slackening next week."
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    No: (2) and (4) are both wrong. The present participle "slackening" comes from the verb "to slacken", which is quite different.

    (1) is fine, but (3) is odd in the future tense. People don't generally announce plans to slack off.:eek:
     
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