General Writing and Grammar Help/Hear, hear OF, hear ABOUT

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Question
Dear Ted:

If the following three sentences are all correct, do they have the same meaning?

1) I have never heard that idiom (before).

2) I have never heard OF that idiom (before).

3) I have never heard ABOUT that idiom (before).

If not, what are the differences among "to hear something," "to hear OF something," and "to hear ABOUT something"?

Would you please give me some examples?

Thank you very much for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

If the following three sentences are all correct, do they have the same meaning?

1) I have never heard that idiom (before).

2) I have never heard OF that idiom (before).

3) I have never heard ABOUT that idiom (before).

If not, what are the differences among "to hear something," "to hear OF
something," and "to hear ABOUT something"?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** All three mean the same thing, and it is a good idea to include the word "before."

*** There is just one difference, and it is a slight one.  Sentence #3 suggests a little more about the idiom than just hearing it.  If you say that you heard or learned ABOUT something, you are saying that you have information about it.  For instance, if I tell you HOW the idiom came into being, I am telling you ABOUT it.  I am not just using the idiom.  Sentences #1 and #2 do not have that "extra" connotation.

EXAMPLES:

I have never hear that idiom, "mind your p's and q's," before.

I have never heard OF that idiom, "mind your p's and q's," before.

Thank you for explaining that the letter "p" stands for "pints" and the letter "q" stands for "quarts."  I have never heard ABOUT that idiom, "mind your p's and q's," before.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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