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Re: Way to say "honestly" in the every-day British English?

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 20, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Way to say "honestly" in the every-day British English? posted by Smokey Stover on July 20, 2005

: : : : Hi, people,

: : : : What is the customary idiomatic way to say "honestly" in the every-day British English? I mean, e.g. if I want to say something like "He is a real beast of a man. Honestly!" can I use the phrases "upon my soul", "upon my life"? Or probably there's something else with the same meaning?

: : : : Thanks in advance.

: : : What's wrong with "Honestly"? Not British enough? While I just love "Upon my soul!" I think you are a century or two too late to be saying that. You could perhaps provide the emphasis you think you need by something redundant, such as "He really is!" or "And that's the honest truth!" But if you wish to be terse I can think of nothing better than "Honestly!" or something more or less synonymous, like "Really!" or "Truly!" or "Really and truly!" SS

: : 'Honestly' is perfectly idiomatic British English - SS is absolutely right about 'upon my soul' being perhaps a trifle old-fashioned, old bean.

: : Reluctant though I am to disagree with him though, I don't think 'really and truly' or 'and that's the honest truth' would be used by most British English speakers: somehow they don't sound right.

: : David FG

: We are somewhat hampered by the "something like" qualification. Sometimes the best emphatic follow-up is based on the situation. In this case, "He is a real beast" could be followed up with "He should be put in a cage!" Much better, I think, than saying "Honestly" and perhaps clucking the tongue while shaking the head slowly from side to side. SS

In British English "Honestly!" can be a complete interjection all on its own; it does not need to lean against any other sentence. Said in a tone of shocked disgust, it conveys "Oh for God's sake", "Come off it", "That's the absolute pits", "Can you believe it?" etc. (VSD)