We had a bit of a debate yesterday with a Freelang user who played one of our quizzes about English language (on the French website of Freelang). One of the question was about the verb “give in” meaning “hand in”, like hand in a paper after an exam. The person took the quiz and then sent me an email saying that I had made a mistake and that you couldn’t use “give in” as a synonym of “hand in”. English is not my mother tongue, but I had checked in a dictionary before making the quiz, so I just told the person that I had found the verb in a dictionary. I said maybe it was just less used than hand in. She replied and said that “give in” meant surrender, or yield, but that it was not a transitive verb and you couldn’t “give in something”. She also said I should trust her, as she was American and a native speaker of English.
So I checked again in different dictionaries, and I found this:
give in, a. to acknowledge defeat; yield.
b. to hand in; deliver:
Please give in your timecards.
* vi insep[relent, yield]
to give in to sthg
refused to give in to terrorist threats
* vt sep[hand in – book,
[- found object, parcel]
[- application, name]
Then I used Google to find some examples with a context, and I found this:
I completely lost my concentration with the teachers trying to calm people down, in the end I was the only person left in the hall believe it or not, so I gave in my paper which still had a question unanswered.
On an entirely unrelated note, I have a paper due tomorrow for my freshman seminar, Family History in the US and Europe. I just took it to the Writing Center and the guy really liked it! The Writing Center is my new fave place. You take them an idea, an outline, a draft, or a whole paper and they will read it and help you out. I gave in my paper (minus a conclusion) and we talked about some stylistic/grammar changes as well as what my conclusion should focus on.
Eventually, the person who had wrote to me admitted that “give in” could mean “hand in”, but she said it was probably British English, as it didn’t make any sense in American English. Which I thought was a bit strange, as the last example was found in the blog of an American student, born in NYC. However I didn’t want to push the contradiction further. My point was not to tell her that I was right and she was wrong. My point was rather to show that it’s not possible to know everything about a language, even if it’s your mother tongue. French is my mother tongue but I’m far from knowing all the words in the dictionary, or the different usages in various French provinces, or in Québec, Belgium or Africa!
Anyway, if English is your mother tongue, whether you’re from England, America or elsewhere, do you have any opinion on the verb give in meaning to hand in? Is it really British English, or is it simply a verb hardly used with this meaning?