Expression: "sweated through"

Every so often I run into a “mistake” in an English book written by foreigners that doesn’t appear to me to be a mistake.

Most recently I’ve run into one in which two German (I think) authors give a sentence that is supposed to be a typical German “mistake”: [color=darkblue]I am sweated through. In the back, the correction is, “I am sweating like hell.” This is supposed to be language for business.

For one thing, “I’m sweated through,” sounds like a perfectly normal sentence to me, and I’m a native speaker. Secondly, I think, “I’m sweating like hell,” is too vulgar to be taught in a business ESL book. However, “as hell” and “like hell” are taught a few times in the book, even though (to me) they are just not genteel enough for the context.

What do the other native speakers think?

Hi Jamie

Would you have been happier with “[color=blue]I’m sweating bullets.”? :lol:

That sounds pretty “German” to me. But I’m also probably over-sensitized to “typical German” stuff. On the other hand, it still doesn’t seem like the sort of thing a native speaker would specifically pick out as “wrong”.

I think using “like hell” could depend on the company culture as well as the position of the person who says it.
I’d probably advise against using it, though.


That idiom’s okay, but it doesn’t fit in the context. The guy was sweating from a trip or something, not from fear or nervousness.

Hi Jamie

I would advise against initiating a conversation on one’s hellish sweatiness (unless someone else brought it up first :lol:).


I’m sweated through (= I’m thoroughly sweaty) sounds native to me too.

I’m sweating like hell is certainly not synonymous, register-wise.

I don’t think the latter should be ‘taught’ at all. It is the kind of expletive that is explained-- with cautionary notes-- when a student finds it and asks about it.

Thanks for reinforcing my intuition.

I asked a non-linguist friend last night what the thought about it, and he said that although he’d never heard the expression, it sounded like perfectly normal English to him, and that it clearly meant that someone was sweating through his clothes.