I'm looking for an idiom, expression, or simply an adverb which means act as if other people owe you something while they're not so while you're like this, you look at them or behave toward them from a demanding position which you reasonably shouldn't.

After knowing about us rating him poorly, our teacher came in staring at us as if we owe him something! You didn't do your job mate! What were you expecting?!

The superintendent complained about corridors being dirty as if we owe him something. Interestingly, he never hired someone to clean up the place!

Why are you looking at me as if I owe you something. I was exhausted last night; I couldn't come over to help you with your homework.

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    "as if we owe him something" is actually a very good idiomatic phrase itself.
    – stangdon
    Apr 16, 2017 at 21:00
  • I agree with stangdon. The idiomatic phrase you are looking for is precisely, "as if we owe him something". Your question is a bit like asking "What is an idiomatic way of saying that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" :-) Stangdon, why not convert your comment to an answer, because I think it pretty much nails it.
    – tkp
    Apr 17, 2017 at 2:18
  • @stangdon. Interesting! I googled it first and it didn't give much results and I figured it might not be the way English speakers say that; usually when this is an idiom it clearly shows up on top. Anyway, Is the usage in all sentences correct?
    – Yuri
    Apr 17, 2017 at 4:03
  • @Yuri -- the usage is not completely correct. Since you don't owe him anything, the clause is counter-factual, so the verb is in the subjunctive mood: "as if I owed you something." The subjunctive is the same as the simple past, except the verb to be, which is were in the subjunctive. "If I were president [which I'm not], I would legalize marijuana." Apr 17, 2017 at 5:43
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    @Yuri -- actually, native speakers often get this wrong. Proper use of the subjective will mark you as someone you learned English in school, rather than just picking it up as a child. I once got into a taxi in Boston and asked the driver to take me somewhere I could get scrod; he complimented me on my mastery of the pluperfect. Apr 17, 2017 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


Depending on who you ask, you've already got it - as if X owe(s) them something is idiomatic, though some say that it should be as if X owed them something. Most people won't bat an eyelid at the difference between the two.


In some cases a person may feel that they are entitled to certain benefits or deference because of their status or position.

An entitlement is the right to a particular privilege or benefit, granted by law or custom. You have a legal entitlement to speak to a lawyer if you're ever arrested and put in jail.

Your entitlement program at work might offer various benefits, or you might receive a medical entitlement once you reach a certain age. These are just basic things you get. More recently, entitlement has taken on a critical sense. If someone has a sense of entitlement, that means the person believes he deserves certain privileges — and he's arrogant about it. The term "culture of entitlement" suggests that many people now have highly unreasonable expectations about what they are entitled to. (vocabulary.com)

Entitlement : 2: belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges (m-w.com)

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