How do you say to someone that you will reuse a sentence (or a joke) you've just heard from them, as-is, because you liked it a lot ?

In Italian we say "Questa me la rivendo", that translated is "I'm gonna resell that one"
(ri-vendo / re-sell is the idiomatic part, the other words could be recombined / replaced).

I can't find anything in the web, so... what is the English version ?

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    I tell folks who post terrific one-liners here that "I'm gonna steal that". – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 2 '15 at 14:40
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    To steal: To present or use (someone else's words or ideas) as one's own. thefreedictionary.com/steal – user66974 Dec 2 '15 at 14:42
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    @AndreaLigios I'm gonna steal "that one;" I wanna use "that one." – Elian Dec 2 '15 at 15:18
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    @Elian: I've edited the question accordingly (I'm gonna instead of I will, that one instead of this), to leave "wrong" only the subject of the question – Andrea Ligios Dec 2 '15 at 15:23
  • "Appropriate" used as a verb is fun. – Josh Dec 2 '15 at 23:20

11 Answers 11


When I hear a phrase I admire, I generally say "I want to use that" or "I'm gonna steal that" as well.

  • To present or use (someone else's words or ideas) as one's own. (AHD)
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    So Andrea is going to steal "going to steal"? – Kevin Dec 2 '15 at 20:27
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    @Kevin no, he has paid Emerald 15 reps. Fair trade. – Ooker Dec 3 '15 at 5:06
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    If someone said I want to use that to me in that context I would think they are either weird or not a native speaker. – dan-klasson Dec 4 '15 at 2:27
  • This is how I've normally heard it, too "That's a great phrase, I'm stealing that", although "Borrowing" in the same context does work too. – Jon Story Dec 4 '15 at 10:34

Another alternative is "I'm borrowing that phrase!":

I'm not sure how I do that, but you better believe I'm borrowing that phrase. It's great!

(A comment on the phrase "unapologetically embracing myself")

God-awful nose bender
I'm borrowing that phrase. It's perfect!


On a similar note, when you later actually use a borrowed expression, you can introduce it with "to borrow a phrase":

To borrow a phrase, if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.


To borrow a phrase from my mother, I spend too much time “watching the boob tube” and not enough time outside.


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    Yes, that is on the top with "to steal". We have this form too... So in Italian we have the equivalent of borrowing, stealing and reselling, while you've only the first two, for what I've got until now – Andrea Ligios Dec 2 '15 at 17:05
  • I disagree that "To borrow a phrase" would be used when repeating a phrase you've earlier said you would "borrow" - counterintuitive, perhaps, but "To borrow a phrase" really means "I'm quoting someone else" or "I'm repeating a metaphor" rather than "I've stolen this idiom/phrasing" – Jon Story Dec 4 '15 at 10:34
  • @JonStory Jon, I think you misread my answer. I never said "to borrow a phrase" introduces what you yourself said earlier. Yes, it basically means you're quoting someone else. And that's what my answer says. – A.P. Dec 4 '15 at 11:38

You can tell them that you intend to quote them.

quote verb

: to repeat (something written or said by another person) exactly

: to write or say the exact words of (someone)

: to write or say a line or short section from (a piece of writing or a speech)

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    This is the literal answer, but I think the OP was asking for the idiomatic answer as suggested by @Josh61 and included in the answer by Emerald Ware "to steal" – TecBrat Dec 2 '15 at 15:32
This one's going straight into my armory/toolbox/collection/phrasebook.

The actually idiomatic part here is "this one" as an immediate reference to a recognizably iconic utterance. The rest is more or less made up but complements the idiom "straight out of the book".


I would say:

I am so gonna use that.


I'm claiming that one for myself!

This suggests that not only will you use the phrase/sentence in question yourself but you think so highly of it you are prepared to pretend you thought of it first and will claim that to be the case.


You could consider saying:

Do you mind if I quote you (on that)?
I would like to (want to) quote you (on that).

The verb quote with an object means:

Repeat or copy out (words from a text or speech written or spoken by another person): I realized she was quoting passages from Shakespeare

It is a little more formal than "I am going to steal that" but broadly used.

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

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    This implies that attribution may be involved, which changes the meaning quite significantly. It doesn't mean you're going to use the phrase yourself, but that you're going to tell other people that the original speaker used it. – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 3 '15 at 19:59
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​hony: If you mean A.P.'s answer, it's different in the way that I literally just explained. – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 4 '15 at 1:53
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    The order in which answers are presented (a) is user-configurable, and (b) changes over time. Please refer to answers by author and/or direct HTTP link. If you're referring to James's answer, then yours does not differ from it (never claimed it did), and I downvoted that one too. – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 4 '15 at 2:01

I am going to use that


I am going to steal that

are the ones most commonly heard.


A well-known idiomatic usage for this context (definition from Cambridge dictionaries) is...

pass it on - to ​tell someone something that another ​person has told you

...which is commonly used in respect of "relaying, repeating" information, jokes, quotes, etc.

If what's being passed on is something physical there's often the implication that the original owner/user no longer needs it (outgrown clothing, upgraded technological gadgets, etc.). Unsurprisingly, it can thus have the negative connotations of BrE cast-offs in such contexts.

But when passing on a copy (of information, jokes, etc.), the connotations are invariably positive (whatever is is, it's something you want to spread around, because you think it's good).

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    I guess the difference is that when you use this, there's a reference to the source, while when "stealing that one" you are going to use it anonimously, like if it was your – Andrea Ligios Dec 2 '15 at 15:53
  • @Andrea Ligios: Absolutely. I don't claim that my point here about the different connotations of "passing on" a single physical object or a copy is some kind of groundbreaking new perspective. But if someone said they were going to steal it, I'd assume they intended to pass it off as their own, rather than simply spread it to a wider audience (with or without explicit attribution to me as the source). Passing on (dying) isn't exactly desirable, but having your words/ideas passed on (copied, repeated) to others (perhaps even after your death) is usually seen as a good thing. – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '15 at 16:10

"I'll quote you on that" implies that you will name the originator and hold them responsible. "I'll pass that along" is a common and friendly form. "I'll echo that" is short, and implies agreement. The same is true for "I'll copy that", but it might be misunderstood literally.

  • I like I'll echo that! On the other hand, I can use copy that only when wearing the Jack Bauer's t-shirt :P – Andrea Ligios Dec 3 '15 at 9:18
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    @AndreaLigios: "I'll echo that" means "I agree", not "I will use that phrase myself in the future". Hence I don't think it is relevant here. – AndyT Dec 3 '15 at 14:15

I say

That goes in the lexicon!

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