'Oh, I never !' ????

Macunaíma

Senior Member
português, Brasil
I used to have an englishwoman as a neighbour, and one day we shared the lift and I heard her say to her daughter 'Oh, I never!' ( there always seemed to be some kind of controversial conversation between them...). Anyway, I had read that expression before and I could never work out what it means, nor infer it from the context, maybe because a word-for-word translation of this into portuguese would sound so weird ! Well, unfortunately I cannot say what the context of their conversation_or argument_was ( especially as it would be indiscreet on my part, ha! ). Uhm, anyway, could anybody please give me a clue ? Oh, just one more thing, if it's not asking too much: is is true that the expression 'Oh, dear!', used when you are shocked or extremely surprised at something, would sound...errr...say, 'queer', if said by a man ?
Thanks in advance !
 
  • Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    I used to have an englishwoman as a neighbour, and one day we shared the lift and I heard her say to her daughter 'Oh, I never!' ( there always seemed to be some kind of controversial conversation between them...). Anyway, I had read that expression before and I could never work out what it means, nor infer it from the context, maybe because a word-for-word translation of this into portuguese would sound so weird ! Well, unfortunately I cannot say what the context of their conversation_or argument_was ( especially as it would be indiscreet on my part, ha! ). Uhm, anyway, could anybody please give me a clue ? Oh, just one more thing, if it's not asking too much: is is true that the expression 'Oh, dear!', used when you are shocked or extremely surprised at something, would sound...errr...say, 'effeminate', if said by a man ?
    Thanks in advance !
    The expression that I've always heard is "Well, I never!" and it's almost exclusively used by extremely old-fashioned, uptight people. Think of it as a shortening of:

    "Well, I have never heard such language/that kind of tone used in front of me!"

    It's like an exclamation at someone's disrespect for that person's high esteem (and therefore a bit stuffy ;) ). Nobody my age uses this phrase in the U.S., though i can't quite speak for other countries.

    To answer your second question: just a little bit, yes. A guy will more likely say, "Oh man," or "Oh boy." Though admittedly, "Oh boy," seems to have run out of fashion in the last decade or so.
     

    Macunaíma

    Senior Member
    português, Brasil
    Thank you for such a prompt reply, Hocney. I suppose your description of a stuffy, old-fashioned and stiff person fits my ex-neighbour perfectly. I noticed there seems to have been something with my use of the term 'queer'. Well, as a student of your language I am still trying to become familiar with the connotation of words, and I hope I haven't given offence. The portuguese equivalent I had in mind doesn't sound offensive at all. Thaks for for your tip: EFFEMINATE in future !!!

    Um grande abraço ! ( this does not have an affeminate connotation in Portuguese...)
     

    Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    Thank you for such a prompt reply, Hocney. I suppose your description of a stuffy, old-fashioned and stiff person fits my ex-neighbour perfectly. I noticed there seems to have been something with my use of the term 'queer'. Well, as a student of your language I am still trying to become familiar with the connotation of words, and I hope I haven't given offence. The portuguese equivalent I had in mind doesn't sound offensive at all. Thaks for for your tip: EFFEMINATE in future !!!

    Um grande abraço ! ( this does not have an affeminate connotation in Portuguese...)
    I don't really take offense to any single words. :) I'm just warning you in that "queer" is a bit of a vulgar way to say "homosexual." And even still, there is no right stereotype for homosexuality, so the best word to use in your sense is "effeminate" which means not "manly" in the traditional sense of the word.
     
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