pass something on/along to somebody

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aaronsun666

Senior Member
Mandarin
The big bang theory SEASON 01, EPISODE15

Missy: Any news you want me to pass along to Mom?

What's the difference between the two phrases, pass something along to somebody &pass something onto somebody? Which is more formal?
I mean, when both are expressing the meaning of giving information to another person, which was given to you by somebody earlier.
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "Pass the news along to" is common usage, at least in AE. "Pass the news on to" (not "onto") is also used. I wouldn't call either more formal than the other.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, aaronsun666.

    (1) You should use "pass something on to somebody". It's not "pass something onto somebody."
    (2) Neither of those expressions is "formal".
    (3) There is no difference in meaning between the two expressions.

    PS Cross-posted with Parla.
     

    aaronsun666

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Ok, got you. Thanks, Parla.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Thank you, owlman5.
    I kind of feel obliged each time you guys cross posting. :)
    Such an impetus for my English-learning process.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Then what's the formal way to express such a meaning?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Then what's the formal way to express such a meaning?
    I often read questions about "formality" in here, aaronsun666. Here's my take on that topic: Good English is good English. Trying to puff your language up with things that strike you as "formal" is a good way to produce bad English.

    If you wanted to, you could replace the common and colloquial "pass something along to somebody" with some fancy verb like "transmit" or "convey". Would your sentence be any better for that replacement? Probably not. Would Missy be likely to use "Any news you want me to convey to Mom?" Once again, probably not.
     
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    aaronsun666

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thanks for the advice, owlman5.
    The question you mentioned is kind of beyond me for now. Sometimes I think I know the meaning of words, but I can't really feel the beauty of them.
    Perhaps I need practical experience to grasp these.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thanks for the advice, owlman5.
    The question you mentioned is kind of beyond me for now. Sometimes I think I know the meaning of words, but I can't really feel the beauty of them.
    Perhaps I need practical experience to grasp these.
    Fair enough, Aaron. Here's my advice: Don't try to sound formal. If you speak and write clearly, your language will fit any situation.
     
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