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If someone says a phrase that sounds like "I'd just as soon you don't get in an accident, so I'll call you later", are they actually saying "just as soon" or "just assume" or something else?

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BTW - one does not get 'in' an accident. He gets into one. –  Craigo Dec 13 '13 at 19:10
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@Craigo: I've been 'in' an accident before. –  Mitch Dec 13 '13 at 21:18
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5 Answers

It's "I'd just as soon" and it means, in expanded form, "I would just as soon have it that [something be true] as that [something else be true]. It is making a comparison between the benefits of something happening one way versus another, and stating a preference regarding the outcome.

Examples:

I'd just as soon eat live cockroaches as go see another movie about vampires.

Here the person is stating a distaste for vampire movies. He would as soon, or as eagerly, eat live cockroaches than watch one.

I'd just as soon you spoke to Bill before telling Marie about this.

Here the person believes Bill needs to know something before Marie finds out about it. There is only an implied comparison here, between telling Bill first and not.

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I think Americans screw this up all the time. The examples here make very good sense. "I'd just as soon do X as Y". Perfect. I hear it all the time in a non comparative sense. Drives me bananas. If English weren't my first language it would drive me to distraction.

Ok. Now let's fight about when to use "further" vs "farther" :)

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This is what really drives me bonkers. Girls and God: September 2005 I don’t mind being honest when the news is good, but when I have to deliver bad news, well, I’d just assume run in the opposite direction. ... girlsandgod.blogspot.com/2005_09 … chive.html –  John Brooks Sep 29 '13 at 5:15
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"Just as soon", meaning something very like "I would sooner you don't...", but with the preference left up to the listener. It's a kind of "I can take it or leave it, but, well, leaving it would be easier for me -- still, it's your decision" idea; the speaker's desire is obvious, but not being pressed.

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Simply put, "I would just as soon [do one thing] as [do something else]" indicates that there is no preference one way or the other.

"I would sooner [do something] than [do something else]", on the other hand, indicates a preference.

The expression "I would just assume you do/don't do something" makes no sense, nor would the expression "I would just as soon you do/don't do something".

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I'll ignore the 'actually saying' deliberately. They say what they say, after all. Rather I speak about what they may mean.

Never heard or seen it. But it reminds me of ”I'd rather you go away“, which perplexes me as a non-native speaker time and again.

So, my vote is 'I prefer you don't get in an accident'. The phrase may be a blending of ”I'd rather“ and ”I assume“.

My 2 Euro cents.

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It's actually a very common English phrase with a very long history. "Sooner" also means "rather" (in the sense of desire) in addition to meaning "closer to the present than later", and "as soon" means "desire equally" in the literal sense, but "rather" in the colloquial sense. –  bye Feb 23 '11 at 0:15
    
Okay, same in German, e.g. - but I was surprised by the equative as soon. –  thyx Feb 27 '11 at 22:01
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protected by RegDwigнt Dec 13 '13 at 19:56

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