to dwell on...- usable or archaic?


Senior Member
Israel, Hebrew
Hi everyone,
I was wondering whether it was "normal" English to say "I don't want you to dwell on it for too long". Is the use of "dwell on" archaic, or do people actually use it? is there a difference between American and British English? Is there a difference between written and spoken registers?
Thanks a lot!
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    BE: to dwell upon something is usually said to a [temporarily] depressed or anxious person who has been either the cause or victim of an unfortunate event. In these circumstances, in BE, it is a common usage.

    A: "Ever since my husband died/I had that accident, I can't sleep at night."
    B: "You couldn't have done anything about it; don't dwell upon it, relax, think of something else."

    or if the listener wants the speaker to address a specific point, rather than some other point:

    A: "Breeding fish can be expressed as a complicated mathematical equation..."
    B: "I don't want you to dwell upon the mathematics for too long; I am more interested in the actual results"
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