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phone line breaking up

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:00 am
by azz
Can one use
a. I was on the phone with him, but we were breaking up.

instead of
b. I was on the phone with him, but the phone line was breaking up.
?

Can one use
c. I was on the phone with him, but we were cut off.
d. I was on the phone with him, but the phone line cut off.

instead of
f. I was on the phone with him, but the phone line went dead.
?

I think when the line is breaking up, it goes on and off.
If it 'breaks up' or 'is cut off', it goes dead.

Are there any other common expressions for these two things?

Many thanks.

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:38 am
by Erik_Kowal
Most succinct = "You're breaking up" (i.e. the connection is deteriorating to the extent that your voice is getting so distorted that I can hardly make out what you're saying, and/or your voice is intermittemtly disappearing entirely").

Note that from the speaker's point of view, it's always the other person who's breaking up. We can always hear what we're saying, so nobody ever says "We're breaking up" unless they're discussing their love lives.

"We {were / got} cut off" hints at the possibility that the connection was deliberately severed. "Somebody cut us off" makes that a direct accusation.

"The line {went dead / dropped}" is factual, with no attribution of blame implied.

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:34 pm
by tony h
Erik_Kowal wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:38 am
"We {were / got} cut off" hints at the possibility that the connection was deliberately severed. "Somebody cut us off" makes that a direct accusation.
Erik, you make excellent points. The one above got my head wondering. Why is it "cut off" when the most likely reason was an unplugging of the line (when switchboards had plugs) or someone putting down the keys on the telephone - the least likely - unless you were in a Hollywood cowboy film, a village in occupied France in the 1940s or sometimes in a storm - was the line had actually been severed.
But then you can be: cut off by the sea, cut off from your friends. So maybe cut off does not require a physical bisection of the line but merely is an indication of a singular event being the cause.

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:56 pm
by Erik_Kowal
tony h wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:34 pm
Why is it "cut off" when the most likely reason was an unplugging of the line (when switchboards had plugs) or someone putting down the keys on the telephone - the least likely - unless you were in a Hollywood cowboy film, a village in occupied France in the 1940s or sometimes in a storm - was the line had actually been severed.
When one person interrupts another in conversation, they are said to be cutting them off.

So to my mind, the phrase's allusion is to an interruption rather than to a physical cutting of the phone line — in other words, a severing of the flow of conversation.

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:45 pm
by tony h
Erik_Kowal wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:56 pm
tony h wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:34 pm
Why is it "cut off" when the most likely reason was an unplugging of the line (when switchboards had plugs) or someone putting down the keys on the telephone - the least likely - unless you were in a Hollywood cowboy film, a village in occupied France in the 1940s or sometimes in a storm - was the line had actually been severed.
When one person interrupts another in conversation, they are said to be cutting them off.

So to my mind, the phrase's allusion is to an interruption rather than to a physical cutting of the phone line — in other words, a severing of the flow of conversation.
Good point. :)

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:29 pm
by Shelley
Erik_Kowal wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:56 pm
. . . the phrase's allusion is to an interruption rather than to a physical cutting . . . in other words, a severing of the flow of conversation.
. . . or, the severing of my car's forward trajectory when -- "Hey! That guy just cut me off!"

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:52 pm
by Bobinwales
Shelley wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:29 pm
. . . or, the severing of my car's forward trajectory when -- "Hey! That guy just cut me off!"
I would have said. "That bloke just cut me up!"
Both sides of the Pond again.

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:52 pm
by Bobinwales
Shelley wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:29 pm
. . . or, the severing of my car's forward trajectory when -- "Hey! That guy just cut me off!"
I would have said. "That bloke just cut me up!"
Both sides of the Pond again.

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:36 am
by Erik_Kowal
Bobinwales wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:52 pm
I would have said. "That bloke just cut me up!"
You would have left it at "bloke"???

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:20 pm
by Shelley
Bobinwales, you're repeating yourself, again.

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:11 pm
by Bobinwales
Shelley wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:20 pm
Bobinwales, you're repeating yourself, again.
How did that happen?
How did that happen?
I can't see how to delete.
I can't see how to delete.
Sorry.
Sorry.

Re: phone line breaking up

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:51 am
by gdwdwrkr
a.How did that happen?
b.How did that happen?


c.I can't see how to delete.
d.I can't see how to delete.



Sorry.
Sorry.