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twix93
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03 Apr 2009, 4:34 pm

What sort of things have you taken literally when you shouldn't have? Any examples?

I thought in a German lesson that the German word "Idee" meant "lightbulb", when it actually meant "idea". This was because there were a list of German words with pictures to signify what they mean (and a lightbulb usually signifies an idea).



Tomasu
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03 Apr 2009, 4:38 pm

^^ Yaye I am considered many terms as literal in the past. For instance, I have only very recently discovered that the phrase 'selling something on the black market' does not involve some form of market. ^^ I pictured some form of organising the illegal products, may it even be virtually. ^^ However I believe my happy friend recently informed that this a general phrase for selling an item illegally.



MONKEY
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03 Apr 2009, 4:45 pm

Literal thinking used to be one of my main problems now I hardly take things literally at all.
But there are times where I don't understand a phrase or idiom.
I once pulled my socks up when someone used the phrase on me, haha I bet most of us here have done that atleast once


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03 Apr 2009, 5:11 pm

When I take foreign phrases literal, I say it's because I'm an American :wink: Tell an American to "pull up their socks," they will literally pull them up.

I have taken American phrases literal such as "Cut corners." When my mother used it on the men who put siding on our house, I told her they had to cut corners or else they won't be able to get the siding on. I kept arguing with her about how men have to cut the corners off so they can fit in the siding on when they are near the roof. When I said "If they don't cut corners, then how are they going to fit the siding on? They have to cut the corners." Then she realized I was taking it literal so she told me what cutting corners meant.


Here is my favorite one about my literal moment and for three years I thought my mother was nuts. We were going back home to Washington from Montana and I was in the teasing mood. I kept playing jokes on her and she kept telling me to stop that teasing. I would stop that teasing and do another tease. So for six or seven hours I was teasing her none stop. I just didn't know where to draw the line. Then when we got close to Oregon, I do another tease and then my mother gets really mad. She did tell me if I did that teasing one more time, she would kick me out of the car. So I did another tease and then my mother was yelling at me and she pulls over and tells me to get out. I didn't know why she was so angry, I just thought she was angry over the air vent thing. After I get out, she drives off and then stops up ahead and gets out and yells at me to get in. I get in and then she drives off again and then I see she is crying. I ask her what's wrong and she says everyone teases her, me, my brothers, my uncle, my dad. Then she told me she kept telling me to stop that teasing and I never did and I said I did stop that teasing. Then she said she meant she didn't want me teasing her at all and I go "Oh you said 'stop that teasing' not all teasing."
For three years I thought she was just weird because she wasn't clear enough so we had that misunderstanding and then blaming it on my AS later on. But I was the weird one.



Dentu
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03 Apr 2009, 5:42 pm

I consider it an endearing quality. I take all kinds of things literally, or make weird observations and bad puns. It makes people laugh, and I've learned to laugh with them.



gbollard
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03 Apr 2009, 6:17 pm

My worst was at a work party where I was told to bring a plate.

I turned up with a rather nice plastic plate.

I didn't know that there had to be food on it.



ebec11
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03 Apr 2009, 7:27 pm

Tomasu wrote:
^^ Yaye I am considered many terms as literal in the past. For instance, I have only very recently discovered that the phrase 'selling something on the black market' does not involve some form of market. ^^ I pictured some form of organising the illegal products, may it even be virtually. ^^ However I believe my happy friend recently informed that this a general phrase for selling an item illegally.
I did the same thing!!

I had many when I was younger, though my memory really sucks so I can't recall exact quotes. It's died down with age for me, but I'll still take some things a bit too literally.



Dentu
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03 Apr 2009, 7:32 pm

On Tomasu and the black market-

...

...

...oh.



11krage
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04 Apr 2009, 6:41 am

Tomasu wrote:
^^ Yaye I am considered many terms as literal in the past. For instance, I have only very recently discovered that the phrase 'selling something on the black market' does not involve some form of market. ^^ I pictured some form of organising the illegal products, may it even be virtually. ^^ However I believe my happy friend recently informed that this a general phrase for selling an item illegally.


:lol: I thought that too. I swear I was convinced all adults spoke some kind of weird code when I was little. Hardly anything that came out of their mouths made any sense.

Oh, and was anyone else completely traumautised by that game people play with you as a kid? The one where they pretend to steal your nose by putting their thumb between their fingers so it looks like its there instead.


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RoisinDubh
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04 Apr 2009, 11:26 am

Spokane_Girl wrote:
When I take foreign phrases literal, I say it's because I'm an American :wink: Tell an American to "pull up their socks," they will literally pull them up.



Egads....try being Irish, moving to the states, trying to learn Americanisms (which are weird enough for anyone, I'm guessing), when you take everything literally as it is. I've been here 18 years, and I'm still friggin confused!


As for other things people say, I still have a very hard time not taking things exactly as they're said, because I seem to have a block against understanding why people say things they don't actually mean.


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gina-ghettoprincess
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04 Apr 2009, 11:31 am

Once my brother and I were misbehaving at the hairdresser's when my dad was having a haircut. The hairdresser told us to "take a seat", so we each picked up one of the chairs and started to walk out of there...oh yeah, but that was on purpose, LOL. :lol:


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04 Apr 2009, 11:45 am

i am too tired to talk and it is 3:35 am but i will give one example of misperception because i am waiting for my bedroom to heat up.

i was watching TV at the tavern while waiting for dinner with someone, and there was a clip where a reporter said about a football team "they are training hard for their their first game at sydney oval in 30 years".
i wondered why they would be bothered to train as they would all be too old in 30 years to play. i said something to that effect and i was thought to be quite surprisingly stupid.

another time someone said about a police chief who was killed in the line of duty "he unfailingly served both his colleagues and the public"
i remarked that i was surprised that he had only 2 colleagues.
i was wrong.

my room is warm and i will reply to this thread more tomorrow.



Josie
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05 Apr 2009, 1:41 am

I have taken things literal a lot.



gbollard
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05 Apr 2009, 5:31 am

I've been listening to Twilight on Audio book and I was saying to my wife how difficult it must be to read a book aloud for so long (16 CDs). She said "oh no, you don't think that they record it all in one sitting do you?" - no, I said, of course not, it's probably over three or four days.

She still found that funny, apparently it's like about a chapter per day - and they stop for meal and toilet breaks too.



McTell
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05 Apr 2009, 7:33 am

11krage wrote:
Oh, and was anyone else completely traumautised by that game people play with you as a kid? The one where they pretend to steal your nose by putting their thumb between their fingers so it looks like its there instead.


The first time my dad played this game with me, I cried - a lot.

A friend of mine once said to me, "Throw me the T.V. remote," so I did. After it hit him, he explained to me that what he actually wanted was for me to pass it to him.

Whenever I was getting new shoes, when I was wee, the shop attendant would always say, "Take a walk around the room," and so I would, following the wall around the room. This wasn't what they wanted. They wanted me to take a small walk of maybe ten steps to see if the shoes fit.

Nobody told me this though, so I always walked right around the room. I remember that my mum and the attendant would always laugh and wave for me to come back, but I wouldn't until I had one exactly as asked. I did this every time I got a new pair of shoes until I eventually realised for myself what it was that they wanted.

I also remember my Headmaster at primary school telling my class that we needed to, "pull [our] socks up," and so I did. Oh dear, he wasn't happy.



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05 Apr 2009, 5:09 pm

After reading the posts here, I had to relate one story in particular:
I was sitting in a bar, waiting for my boyfriend when I as 20. A guy came from a table near me and asked "is this seat taken".
I said no, and pushed the chair beside me towards the table he came from, thinking they needed another chair.
He looked so confused, and I was confused about why he didn't thank me for giving him the chair.

Later on, I saw a movie, and some guy asked a girl that same question, and she said no, and he sat down next to her, and a light bulb came on in my head... oh, he wanted to know if I was taken and/or if he could sit down and get to know me more...bwah haaaa! ooops. lol. No wonder he was confused when I tried to GIVE him the chair. ha!! !