You can't be flattering me and talk behind my back

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shorty1

Senior Member
Korean
Dear all,


Let's say I'm John's boss. I already know he slanders me here and there all the time. But this is where he is sucking up to me.

So, I say to him as a way of warning:
"You can't be flattering me in my presence and talk behind my back."


I intended to mean both 'be flattering' and 'talk' are negated by can't.

I'd like to know if the sentence sounds natural and the construction is ok.


Thank you for your help.
 
  • perpend

    Banned
    American English
    It sounds okay to me, except I'd make it parallel with "talking".

    You can't be flattering me in my presence and talking behind my back.

    That said, to make it more idiomatic, I might add some additional "fluff"/"style" (personal).

    You can't be flattering me to my face while you are talking behind my back.
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It sounds okay to me, except I'd make it parallel with "talking".

    You can't be flattering me in my presence and talking behind my back.

    That said, to make it more idiomatic, I might add some additional "fluff"/"style" (personal).

    You can't be flattering me to my face while you are talking behind my back.

    Thank you so much, perpend.


    #1. You can't be flattering me in my presence and talking behind my back. :tick:
    #2. You can't flatter me in my presence and talk behind my back. :tick:
    #3. "You can't be flattering me in my presence and talk behind my back." :cross: - a little awkward because it is not parallel.

    I get it.


    You can't be flattering me to my face while you are talking behind my back.
    Can I interpret it as "You can't be flattering me to my face whereas you are talking behind my back when I'm gone."?
    or "You can't be flattering me to my face when you are talking behind my back while I'm gone."?

    Which one sounds natural to you?
     
    Last edited:

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    You can't be flattering me to my face while you are talking behind my back.
    Can I interpret it as "You can't be flattering me to my face whereas you are talking behind my back when I'm gone."?
    Yes---that's a very good interpretation.
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I assume native speakers use 'when' very often but maybe it is not used in this case.

    Thanks for your time and double-checking it.

    This has been clear now.
     
    Last edited:

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Oops. I may have posted before your edit in #3.

    "when" is also used in this case.

    "while" and "when" are most idiomatic for me, but "whereas" is also the sense. Hope that makes sense.
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Oops. I may have posted before your edit in #3.

    "when" is also used in this case.

    "while" and "when" are most idiomatic for me, but "whereas" is also the sense. Hope that makes sense.
    Thank you, perpend. :)

    Very sorry I make you confused. :eek:

    I get it.
     
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    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    That's more idiomatic than your original. :thumbsup:
    Thank you so much, Pala.

    "You can't flatter me to my face when you talk behind my back."

    I used 'when' to mean "you can't flatter me to my face in spite of the fact that you talk behind my back."
    I'm not sure if 'when' is appropriate to use in this case.
    The above sentence also sounds natural to you?
     
    Last edited:

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    "You can't flatter me to my face when you talk behind my back."
    That's okay too, since you are keeping the tenses parallel, shorty. It's a more active version that speaks more in general, rather than using the present progressive.
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    That's okay too, since you are keeping the tenses parallel, shorty. It's a more active version that speaks more in general, rather than using the present progressive.
    Thank you so much.

    I think I get a grip on it.
     
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