My wife often uses the phrase "I'll give you into trouble if you do that again" and it seems to be reasonably common in western Scotland, however I can't find any way for it to be grammatically correct.

I can understand "I'll give you trouble" which means the same, or "I'll get you into trouble" which is obviously a bit different.


1, It's not correct in regular English

2, It might be correct in Western Scotland - don't argue with people who think The Wickerman is a documentary.

3, Your wife is always right - that's the point of wives.

  • Wish I could give you +3 :-) – Rory Alsop May 4 '11 at 18:32
  • @Rory Alsop Is Western Scotland seriously rural or something? – Uticensis May 4 '11 at 19:06
  • @Billare - don't think Glasgow, with a population of over half a million counts as rural – Rory Alsop May 4 '11 at 20:41
  • @Rory Alsop What's with the "who think The Wickerman is a documentary" quip then? – Uticensis May 4 '11 at 20:42
  • Western Scotland often means the islands - the Hebrides etc are very rural. – mgb May 4 '11 at 20:47

The phrase sounds similar to the following:

I will deliver you unto trouble

I will deliver you into their hands

After swapping out "deliver" for "give", it seems logical that it is an error derived from "unto". This phrasing is common in the Holy Bible:

Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you unto tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name.

Isiah 65:12 I will deliver you unto the sword.

Typical English usage of "give you into" would suggesting being given into a location or container:

I will give you into their hands

Even something like "give you into jail" doesn't sound right. "Put you into jail" sounds better.

  • Is "unto trouble," or "into trouble" (first example)? – kiamlaluno May 4 '11 at 20:32
  • @kiam: I don't understand what you are asking. – MrHen May 4 '11 at 21:08
  • @MrHen The first example you wrote is "I will deliver you unto trouble." Is it unto, or into? – kiamlaluno May 4 '11 at 21:16
  • @kiam: The phrase is "unto trouble". See the example linked from Matthew 24, which uses "tribulation" instead of "trouble." The second example of "into their hands" is just another similar usage involving "deliver." Both are acceptable but "unto" may be considered dated. – MrHen May 4 '11 at 21:25
  • @MrHen That is why I was asking; unto is reported as archaic from the NOAD. – kiamlaluno May 4 '11 at 22:12

I am from Glasgow and this phrase makes perfect sense to me. I currently live in Cambridge and was recently questioned over the use of this phrase.

The closest English equivalent is "a telling off", it is dialectal and not grammatically incorrect where I come from.

As for The Wickerman, that's just an insulting insinuation.


I'm from Aberdeen and use this all the time, and I'd never come across anyone I'd said it to in Scotland who didn't understand. I moved down south, and someone picked me up on it and I was stumped- I couldn't actually find a different way to get across what I was trying to say! It makes total sense to me colloquially, albeit incorrect English!


This construction is very common in Glasgow. I had always thought that it was an English translation of a Gaelic idiom.


Put you into trouble.

push you into trouble.

trouble you.

Are better usages.

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