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To Put up with : The Meaning and Grammar Used with This English Word

I thought I would discuss the English phrasal verb "to put up with" a bit today. Perhaps you already know the meaning of this word; if not, then this could be a good word to learn since you will be able to use it in confrontations and disputes that you have with English speakers. Sorry, my knowledge of British English isn't extensive enough to know whether this verb is also used in the UK. I leave that for you to ask a native British English speaker.


"To put up with something" means to tolerate and allow something that you would normally put an end to because it annoys or pisses you off. For instance, if someone is supposed to pay their rent on the first of every month and they keep asking to pay it on the 5th instead and you allow it, then you are putting up with them not paying their rent on time. I think the nuance between saying "to put up with" and "to tolerate" is that "to put up with something" sounds a little more like the thing you are tolerating is a huge inconvenience on you or that it affects you greatly or is extremely disrespectful.


This verb can take a pronoun, a noun phrase, and a phrase using the gerund. For instance,


1. She keeps putting up with his tardiness.

2. She keeps putting up with his being late. (formal)

3. She keeps putting up with him being late. (informal)


Note that all of these sentences mean exactly the same thing but use different grammatical forms. Sentence #2 is the formal way of saying sentence #3. In my opinion though, most Americans say #3 instead of #2 in casual everyday speech. That is, they use the accusative object pronoun "him" instead of the possessive pronoun "his". If you want to sound educated, then I would say sentence #2. If your goal is to fit in more and to sound "more natural", then I would recommend saying #3. This grammar discussion goes over how #3 is actually grammatically correct in an informal setting though. See the discussion here:


4. She keeps putting up with him.


This example uses a pronoun. Using just "him" here indicates that this woman tolerates all the drama and disrespectful crap that this guy puts her through. So it doesn't state exactly what this guy does, but it could be anything. Perhaps he yells at her for no reason, he cheats on her, he is always late, he never buys her a Valentine's Day gift like a good boyfriend should, he calls her fat, or whatever.


Gerund Examples:


5. I don't want to put up with him using my shampoo without asking anymore.


6. She is not going to keep putting up with you paying your rent late every month.


7. If you keep putting up with him calling you fat, then you have no one else to blame for your depression but yourself.


Noun Phrase Examples:


8. I have put up with their loud parties while I am trying to sleep enough.


9. I would have dumped him years ago, but she always just puts up with his rude comments.


10. I will not put up with his lack of respect for his elders.


Relative Clause Examples:


11. People who put up with lies and cheating shouldn't expect to be happily married.


12. Anyone who puts up with animal cruelty when they see it should be held responsible for the crime as well.


13. I am not the type of person who puts up with their significant other going to bars and clubs every night to mingle.







May 21, 2014 3:52 PM
Comments · 22

Must I put up with another one these educational discussions? :P

For those who may not know, I'm making a joke of this discussion and a previous discussion:

I actually enjoy reading these discussions and the responses.

May 21, 2014

Hahahaha. Hey, if I were learning a language and it cost so much to get lessons, I would be doing the same thing, Haru. :)

May 22, 2014

Never mind, Shawn. It seems I have developed a habit of checking your educational post to learn English for free. Haha. 

May 22, 2014

Maybe at home she is saying "My students are so stupid but there is nothing I can do about it." Hehehehehe

May 22, 2014

Hahaha. Exactly. Sentence one means that the teacher is kind even though we always screw up the grammar. Sentence two means that the teacher gets annoyed with us always making mistakes but tolerates and deals with it. Most likely because it is her job and she has no other choice but to put up with it. Hehehehe :)

May 22, 2014
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