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I have come across these two phrases and both appear to mean almost the same.

As mentioned here:

Putting in one's paper means voluntary separation from employment.

and as I read here:

Putting down one's papers means resignation.

I heard both of these phrases are mostly used in India but what is the difference?

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    "Mostly"? Try "only". We should just say "I resigned", or "I quit", or "I'm finally outta here. So long, suckers!" like the rest of the world. – Tushar Raj May 14 '15 at 12:27
  • Btw, I'm Indian, and the first time I heard the expression was one of the only times in my life I didn't know what the other guy was talking about. – Tushar Raj May 14 '15 at 12:28
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I believe the difference is in the implication.

The way I see it.

Putting in one's papers implies that person is leaving their job but they are going to finish up the last of their duties and get things in order properly before they leave for good.

Putting down one's papers implies that they are leaving the job, possibly disgruntled, and getting out of there. Without bothering with what state they are leaving their workspace or projects in.

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As a native speaker of American English, I have never heard the phrase "putting down one's papers". The other, "putting in one's papers", means more or less as you said - to give notice of resignation.

  • Yes, As Mentioned It is mostly used in India and me too heard these phrases very recently. – Neelam May 15 '15 at 5:20
  • Ditto: in the U.S., I hear "putting in one's papers" — perhaps mostly in the context of retiring from the military. – Scott Aug 2 '15 at 5:49

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