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- date unknown
Hang on my lips. [M]
- date unknown
linked to 82225
al_ex_an_der - Mar 9th 2012, 09:56
linked to 396477
CK - Feb 1st 2014, 01:29
Please listen carefully to what I have to say.
CK - 23 day(s) ago
linked to 954242

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Sentence #321489

eng
Please listen carefully to what I have to say.

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Comments

Shiawase
May 28th 2011, 22:19
--responding to @needs native check--
This doesn't quite make sense as it is. I doubt it is said.
I think it would be
"Hang on my every word."
but I don't see it working as a request or an order.
Delian
Feb 1st 2014, 01:16
I have to agree with Shiawase.

In a completely different utterance, one could say,
"My entire future was dependent on his decision, so when he began to speak I hung on his every word."

I've never heard it used as a request or an order. For that I'd use,

for a polite request...

Please let me explain the situation...
Please let me finish explaining the situation...
Please let me finish making my point (before interrupting me)...

I'd use, for an order (Ooooooh, attitude!)

Mark my words.
Mark my words carefully.
I'm only going to say this one time, so listen carefully.
I'm only going to say this one time, so I suggest you pay attention.
Here's how it's going to be...
Here's how it's gonna be... (No. Am.)
What part of ... do you not understand?
What part of ... does not make sense to you?

The sentence as given above, "Hang on my lips" brings to mind the mental image of me sticking my fingers in somebody's mouth, bending my knees and lifting my feet off the floor so that the entire weight of my body is being borne my some poor guy's lower jaw.

Eeewwww.

Either that, or he's got a lip piercing with a dangly bit hanging down, but neither of these scenarios has anything to do with paying attention to what somebody is saying.

I wonder if a deaf or hard-of-hearing person who reads lips might use "hang on his lips" instead of "hang on his words." I rather doubt it, but I suppose it's possible.

Sorry if that's overkill, but "Hang on my lips" is just... just so ... wrong.
Delian
Feb 4th 2014, 00:22
Regarding the English sentence that was originally here: "Hang on my lips." (incorrect)

I gave this some more thought. It's not enough for us native speakers to say don't use "hang on one's words" as an order. To learn how to use the idiom properly one must understand the psychology that is implied.

I gave this example above:

"My entire future was dependent on his decision, so when he began to speak I hung on his every word."

In this sentence I didn't specify what "his decision" was about, only that it was of extreme importance to the listener. Perhaps an orphaned child was wondering if he was about to be adopted. Perhaps a person accused of a terrible crime was about to hear a judge's ruling on a move to dismiss all charges.

In any case, it is the *listener* who is convinced of the extreme importance of the words about to be spoken.

Here are two more:

"Tom was so in love with Mary that he noticed every breath she took and he hung on her every word."

"When they opened his father's will Tom was hanging on every word to find out if he had been left any money at all or if the contrary old man had given everything to his dog Cookie, instead."


In attempting to use "hang on my words" as an order, it might *seem* that you are essentially saying
"Pay attention to what I'm about to say."
but the implication is really more like
"I order you to *feel* with absolute certainty that my next words are of the utmost importance to you."

You can order someone to *do* something, but you can't order them to *feel* something.

Considering further the phrase as it is had been posted originally "Hang on my lips." (incorrect) --

It seems to me that the writer was attempting to combine the idiom "to hang on one's words" with Clint Eastwood's famous movie line "Read my lips." It didn't work because the underlying psychology is too different.

"Read my lips" works well as an order. You're telling the listener to do something and what he *feels* about it is utterly irrelevant, as far as the speaker is concerned.

I hope this helps.

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