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get off with a small fine, getting off lightly If I take out the phrases(with a small fine, lightly) after 'got off' and 'getting off'. Is there any difference except the omission of relevant meanings such as a 'small fine' and 'light punishment'? I wonder if the sentences become awkward or having multiple meanings if I delete 'with a small fine' and 'lightly'. He got off with a small fine. Companies who pollute the environment have been getting off lightly.
Nov 1, 2012 5:35 PM
Answers · 3
GET OFF WITH **collocates with "smaller-than-expected penalty" For example, The drunk driver who killed two people GOT 25 years in prison. (25 years is a normal, reasonable penalty for this crime) The drunk driver who killed two people GOT OFF WITH a year in prison and a five year suspended license. (One year is too lenient, not enough for this crime!) When a speaker uses "get off with" they are signalling their opinion that the penalty is too light. It's often used when someone in authority has the power to make a harsh penalty, but shows mercy. For example, I was speeding like crazy, policeman stopped me, I could have lost 3 points on my license and a $250 fine but the policeman LET ME OFF with just the fine. I GOT OFF WITH just the fine. **Collocations: **Someone offered a correction on my example above. My run on sentence was to convey MEANING, which I think I accomplished. Even though I'm an English teacher, I put accurate and clear meaning above unnecessarily complex grammar. A good teacher tries to make complex things SIMPLER, not simple things complex.
November 2, 2012
Notes: fines are "heavy" or "stiff" meaning large, OR "light" meaning small. ex. Shop owners and staff face stiff fines if they sell tobacco to minors.
November 2, 2012
Language Skills
English, Korean
Learning Language