2

Well, I always get confused over the use of this phrase. Basically, it means taking credit for the performance done by artists by bowing their heads down, and I know that but what about using it for myself for showing respect to others who have done something great? Just consider a sentence - " The soldiers have done a tremendous job in rescuing thousand lives,I take a bow".Can I use it like that?

9
  • If you are one of them, yes; but change “ The” to “We”. Also change “rescuing thousand lives,I” to “rescuing thousands of lives; I” Jun 29, 2013 at 15:47
  • you mean to say that i can't use it show respect to others.
    – 0decimal0
    Jun 29, 2013 at 15:49
  • 4
    “I take a bow” shows respect (toward people being bowed to), but as used in question it also takes credit. Say “I bow to them” to show respect without taking credit Jun 29, 2013 at 15:53
  • 4
    No - it is the people deserving respect, not those giving it, who take a bow (or, more usually, are 'bidden' to "take a bow"). I've put scare-quotes round 'bidden', because when you bid someone to take a bow, you don't really mean them to do it. "Take a bow" essentially means "Very well done." Jun 29, 2013 at 15:53
  • 2
    @EdwinAshworth is right and that should have been an answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 29, 2013 at 16:29

2 Answers 2

2

No.

Not if you want to make a sign of respect towards the soldiers for their good job.

Unless you are responsible somehow for example if you trained them, you cannot say that because it implies somehow that you deserve credit.

If you want to show respect but you are not actually physically bowing down, You can say:

The soldiers have done a tremendous job in rescuing thousands of lives, I bow before them.

This implies (without actually having to be in front of them and physically bow down) that you have so much respect that you would bow down.

3

In a comment, Edwin Ashworth answered:

No — it is the people deserving respect, not those giving it, who take a bow (or, more usually, are 'bidden' to "take a bow"). I've put scare-quotes round 'bidden', because when you bid someone to take a bow, you don't really mean them to do it. "Take a bow" essentially means "Very well done."

1
  • Right. The honored persons have performed their task as outstandingly as superb actors at a theatre perform theirs—and at the end of a fine performance, theatre actors acknowledge the audience's applause and admiration by bowing (or "taking a bow"). So when a person who isn't part of a performance tells the performers to "take a bow," the point of the statement is to indicate that what the performers have done is worthy of an audience's admiration and extended applause. The statement is therefore as much a prompt for the audience to applaud as it is a directive to the performers to bow.
    – Sven Yargs
    Oct 1, 2016 at 23:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.