What do I say for somebody keeps bringing up and talking into somebody's ear about the same topic again and again till he is fed up and finally agrees to it?

Example: Mary's been [word or idiom] to John till he finally bought it for her.

  • 1
    It's nagging if it's really annoying. – Mari-Lou A May 17 at 8:17
  • Mary's been bugging John. – Tinfoil Hat May 17 at 8:36
  • 1
    @DecapitatedSoul However, the possible duplicate question also focuses on the sound a person makes. – Mari-Lou A May 17 at 9:05

It's called nagging if it's really annoying.

Best use the simple past tense though if the subordinate sentence is in the past simple.

Mary nagged at John till he finally succumbed and bought it for her.


She's been nagging about it since this morning
He's always nagging at her for staying out late

| improve this answer | |
  • I was under the impression that nagging is used for kids only. But it looks like that we can use it for kids and grown-ups alike. – user385505 May 17 at 9:00
  • @user385505 absolutely, just look at the examples cited by Lexico in the first link. Plenty of adults speaking there. – Mari-Lou A May 17 at 9:03

From OALD the phrasal verb to harp on about sth is one possibility, but it is informal.

  • Mary's been harping on about it to John till he finally bought it for her. (informal, disapproving)

This other one, the phrasal verb to bang on (aboutsth), used in British English only, (OALD) is informal too.

  • Mary's been banging on about it to John till he finally bought it for her. (informal)
| improve this answer | |
  • How harp on about sth is different from nagging? – user385505 May 17 at 8:40
  • @user385505 I'd say that the annoying thing about either "nagging" or "harping on" is made more explicit, more salient in "nagging". – LPH May 17 at 9:06

Pester (verb): If you say that someone is pestering you, you mean that they keep asking you to do something, or keep talking to you, and you find this annoying — Collins Dictionary

Example: John has been pestering her to go out with him all month.

Alternatively, you could say Persecute, badger or plague.

| improve this answer | |
  • Does pester involves harassing sb to do sth or just repeatedly talk to sb about sth till we get what we want. Beside is it day to day talk or rather formal. – user385505 May 17 at 8:38
  • @user385505 Yes. I use it all the time in casual speech. – Decapitated Soul May 17 at 9:05

Example: Mary's been going on or getting on to John till he finally bought it for her. - informal/colloquial

| improve this answer | |

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