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ESL forum > Ask for help > "Of course"    

"Of course"



Jayho
Australia

"Of course"
 
Hi all
 
I have a small dilemma relating to "of course".
 
Ever since I´ve been teaching English to people who first learned English in their native country, I find them inappropriately using "of course". I think that it must be in overseas course books because it is so commonly used, but I never see it in Australian course books.
 
In Australia (not sure about US or UK), "of course" can be seen as impolite or abrupt. And my students use it frequently which may just rub native speakers the wrong way if they use it in the wrong context..
 
I´m wondering if you could point me in the direction of course books that teach this point so that I can investigate further and illustrate the difference to my students.
 
I have searched but (of course) I can´t find anything.
 
Cheers
 
Jayho
 
 

25 Mar 2015      



frenchfrog
France

 
Frenchfrog

25 Mar 2015     



ueslteacher
Ukraine

Think something around this, Jayho
 
- Can I use your book, Jane?
- Of course! No problem.
 
We teach it as something like "by any means", so my question to you - would it sound abrupt to you as a native?

25 Mar 2015     



Zora
Canada

Not really come across that before. I really think it ´s the context that it is used in. At home, we always use it like ueslteacher ´s example.
 
I do know some not so nice people who might say something like this to somebody:
 
I have a problem! 
Of course, you do.  (Sarcastically)
 
 

25 Mar 2015     



Jayho
Australia

Hi all
 
Thanks for your replies.
 
In FF´s link and Sophia´s example, we Ozzies wouldn´t always use "of course" in the ways given. In statements we might include it for emphasis and when answering a question we tend to use "certainly", "sure", "no worries" and "no problems" instead of "of course".  I don´t teach "of course" to students because really it is not commonly used compared to other adverbs of certainty. As a NS, I rarely use "of course".
 
My adult students are really overusing "of course". They have learned English in their own countries (Europe and Asia) and I´m just curious as to what the course books teach. So if you have seen it in your Headway or other course book could you please let me know so I can then compare that to Australian English.
 
Cheers
 
Jayho
 
 
 
 
 

25 Mar 2015     



Apodo
Australia

@ Frenchfrog - That ´s a useful link to explain the use of ´of course ´.
 
@ueslteacher - The example you gave sounds ok to me especially as you have added ´no problem ´
 
The problem with ´of course ´ (as used in Australia) can occur when we don ´t add that extra word or phrase. 
 
Are you going to have lunch now? Of course!  (Could imply: Do you think I ´m going to work all day without having lunch?)
 
 It does sound a bit abrupt and formal. Also it can sound impolite. I think it ´s just not in common use here as a reply meaning ´yes ´ to that sort of question. 
 
 

25 Mar 2015     



Jayho
Australia

Thanks for your reply Apodo.
 
Do you come across this with your adult students who have learned English in their own country? Do you know of any Ozzie resources that address this?
 
Cheers
 
Jayho
 
 

25 Mar 2015     



yanogator
United States

Yes, Apodo ´s example does show how "of course" can be used somewhat rudely, saying in effect "Are you too stupid to think otherwise?"

 

Have you done your homework?
Of course (and why would you think that I haven ´t?+
 
Bruce 

25 Mar 2015     



Peter Hardy
Australia

"Of course" can be encouraging, insulting, playful, patronizing and many more things, all based on tone and context. I couldn ´t find any ´stuff ´ on how to teach these differences.  The use of synonyms like certainly or definately may help? Cheers, Peter

25 Mar 2015     



Jayho
Australia

That´s a great way to describe it Peter. Thanks Peter, and Bruce, too.
 
I found some references to it today but not much:
 
- Parrot refers to it as an attitude discourse maker (and yes, it can show ´attitude´). This site does too.
 
- Swan says it is ok to use as a response to a simple question (but his example is actually seen as impolite in Australia). My Australian ESL Childcare worker text book does not list it as an option to use for this very same example that Swan uses. I find that quite interesting to say the least.
 
- Swan also provides an example of impolite usage.
 
- Celcia Murcia says that it is on par with ´obviously´ but that ´obviously´ is negative and ´of course´ is positive. Actually, on many levels they are actually the same, in my opinion anyway.
 
 
I am still interested to see how course books teach it so if it is in your course book please let me know.
 
Cheers
 
Jayho
 

26 Mar 2015