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But according to my friend I am wrong. What do you think?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

"Spare me" can be used to refer to anything that isn't wanted.

As in, "spare me your poppycock", "spare me your pedantic ways", "spare me your grandiloquence" etc.

"Spare me" just means "let me not hear/see/experience something".

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You are correct. However, I think this is an instance of an unnecessary preposition. I would say, "Spare me the details".

If your friend doesn't believe you, tell him or her to read these lyrics1 by the punk band The Offspring:

  1. Warning: racy lyrics
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Thanks for the proof :) – bmm Aug 6 '10 at 10:41
Not just an unnecessary preposition; I think "spare me with X" is either meaningless or means something different from "spare me X". – ShreevatsaR Aug 6 '10 at 15:41

In an absolute sense, your friend is correct: "spare me with..." doesn't really mean anything. Thus it doesn't mean "don't bother me with the details of...", but this is about as useful as saying that it doesn't mean "the sky is blue".

What you were doubtless intending to say is "spare me the details [of...]", which does indeed mean "don't bother me with the details [of...]". "Spare me [x]" is an idiom meaning "I don't want to be bothered with [x], so kindly leave [x] out of any further conversation."

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protected by Clark Kent May 31 '12 at 18:21

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