usage of "slip questions"


Does “slip questions” in the following sentence mean “to evade questions” ?

Do you find this phrase natural ?


No. To slip a question can mean to ask the question in a way that an answer is obtained that if directly asked would not have been answered. Or to include unplanned questions into a string of planned questions. Or to skillfully ask a question. There are a few other meanings depending on locality.

Thank you for your concern and trying to help but I’m not sure you’re right. Your definition, although a possible one, doesn’t fit the context. (the doctor was asked the questions)

Anyway, I’d like to hear what native speakers have to say on the subject :).

Thanks in advance.

Hi LS,

I don’t think ‘slipped’ quite sounds natural. I think the word you’re looking for is ‘dodged’, ‘avoided’, or possibly ‘sidestepped’.

Actually, there are quite a few other words that will work, depending on your nuanced meaning. Did the doctor simply avoid answering the questions all together, or did he try to deflect the questions with glib answers,smooth talk and denial, or did he just flat out lie?

Hi, Skrej

Here is the entire context I found this sentence in, so you can judge the aptness of this word in the context taken straight “from the horse’s mouth”:

What do you think ?

Thanks again.

Ah, well it makes more sense in that context, since they’re using the metaphor of a convict evading tracking dogs. In that situation, then ‘to give someone or something the slip’ works, since it’s an idiom meaning ‘to evade’.

As long as it stays in context of that particular paragraph, then it works, but I don’t think that author’s writing as clearly as could be. I find the way he structures those first two sentences of the main paragraph a little hard to follow, but maybe that’s just me. I had to re-read it twice to follow his meaning.

Now, you’re going to tell me it’s some famous author, no? :smiley:

Ahh…I see that yes, indeed, it’s Stephen King, from Firestarter. :o

Regardless, I still stand by my opinion that it’s confusing to read.

Regardless, the sentence wouldn’t work by itself, outside of the context of that paragraph.

Thanks !

Yeah, it was written by Stephen King, the story is called “Firestarter” :slight_smile:

PS: Skrej, you signature appears and disappears sometimes. I’m paying heed to this partly because I’m experiencing the same problem (I mean, you didn’t intentionally turn it off and then back on, did you?). I wonder why this happens…

Lost Soul. I am a native speaker!

Hi Alex

I think you’ve interpreted the intended meaning correctly, but I agree with Skrej that it is not the most typical way to use “slip” as a verb.

The verb “slip” can be used to mean “elude” or “escape from”. However, to me it would be more common to talk about the “slippery” manner in which someone (evasively) answers a question.

Now in context, naturally to slip somthing can also mean to avoid.

“To slip” the police (avoid capture) … to give someone the slip.
“To slip” a back-hander (to bribe someone)
“To slip” a question in (as I have previously described) … To slip something in.
“To slip” the question (as to slip the police --avoid") … From “slippery” like a fish, it slips out of your hands and has gone!

But remember these words, it depends on what part of the English speaking world you come from.

No, I’m not doing anything with my signature, but I don’t see anybody’s signature at the moment. I noticed some changes to the forum, particular the main index.

I think maybe somebody’s doing some site maintenance or tinkering.

Yep, Stephen King uses the same verb in his Showshank redemption. This means to avoid, not to answer the question. Steven King is a native speaker :), so it’s more than natural. “The DA has asked him what he thought had happened, and Andy slipped the question - but he did have an idea …”