Detracting

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Detracting

Post by BonnieL » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:51 am

I was teasing someone about writing "teachers detracting to students." But then it dawned on me that I don't know how that should be worded as detracting isn't a word I use. Teachers were detracting students? They detracted students? Suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

PS - I do hope I wasn't wrong!
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Re: Detracting

Post by trolley » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:35 am

I am not really clear what the teachers were doing. Do you mean detract as in diminish or take away (from) or do you mean detract as in divert or change the direction or focus? Maybe the teachers were distracting?
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Re: Detracting

Post by BonnieL » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:39 am

He meant talking about them in a negative way.
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Re: Detracting

Post by trolley » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:13 am

That's a new one, on me. I've never encountered the verb "detract" used that way ....even though I'd use "detractor" to mean someone who speaks negatively about someone else. Somehow it never occurred to me that someone must be detracting someone else, in order to be their detractor.
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Re: Detracting

Post by BonnieL » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:40 am

It had never occurred to me, either. I think he made it up. :D
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Re: Detracting

Post by tony h » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:24 pm

I'll give it a go.

The teachers were detracting from the ability of current students by suggesting that electronic calculators masked the understanding that came from graphical interpretation of knowledge that came with using a slide rule.

The teachers were detracting from student commitment to their studies saying that a twenty four hour internet based social network was their primary focus.

I am not sure that you can simply "detract from students".
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: Detracting

Post by BonnieL » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:59 pm

Thanks guys!
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Re: Detracting

Post by Phil White » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:40 pm

Hi Bonnie,

I am pretty certain I have heard similar constructions over here. The meaning "to speak badly of someone" or, in modern parlance, to "diss" someone, has been archaic for a long time now. My guess is that it is making a comeback as a a back-formation from "detractor" (he has his detractors"), which has survived in its original meaning. It is possible that people are seeking an alternative to the street slang "diss", which is a useful coinage, as it covers a semantic area that is not really adequately covered by anything else (except, as I say, the archaic "detract"). Things like "denigrate" don't really work as neatly.

I won't be using it any time soon, but I can see it establishing itself again.
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: Detracting

Post by BonnieL » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:08 pm

Thanks Phil! Your explanation is quite likely as the person in question is decades younger than I am. Without kids at home I'm really behind on modern slang. :)
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End of topic.
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