show off: meaning and explanation

to show off

to show off = to talk or act in a way that will attract attention to yourself. This phrasal verb has negative connotations – it is very annoying when people show off!

We can use this phrasal verb as a noun (a show off) to describe someone who shows off. e.g. Michael is such a show off.

to show something off

If you show something off to someone, you are proud of something and want other people to see it and appreciate it or admire it.

This could be used for objects, e.g. Matt likes to show off his collection of antique beer bottles to anyone who might be interested.

It could also be used with people, e.g. Apparently Charlotte was showing off her new boyfriend last night.

Dictation #1

Accent: North American

Pandora .
Pandora guests she off her .
Pandora is inviting guests so she can off her cooking .

…She’s always inviting people around

Do you feel like there is a difference between “she always invites people around” and “she is always inviting people around”?

One effect of using present continuous instead of present simple is to emphasise repetition. This can be used to communicate annoyance with something that someone does a lot, like a bad habit. e.g. Tom is always talking with his mouth full.

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • Who do you know who shows off? What do they show off about?
  • Do you ever show off about anything?
  • Is it ever OK/understandable to show off?
  • When was the last time you wanted to show something off?

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