Say you are dating a girl and you want to let her think that you are doing a lot of good things for that person.

For example,

Your girlfriend missed her bus & called you over. You immediately picked her up. You got 1 point from her.

Her car was broken down and you helped her to fix it. You got another point from her.

You noticed that she was carrying a heavy suitcase. You suggest helping her with it. You got another point from her.

If I translate it from Vietnamese to English, it will be "I am scoring her".

And you can "score" your boss when he gives you a lot of good points for what you did to him or to the company.

Is it correct to say "I am scoring my girlfriend/my boss" when your girlfriend/boss acknowledge good things you are doing for them?

The dictionary has this phrase but it is often used in arguments. My one is to let people think that you are very good.

score a point/points (off/against/over somebody)

​to show that you are better than somebody, especially by making clever remarks, for example in an argument

He was always trying to score points off his teachers.

  • 9
    A related phrase that isn't quite what you're looking for: you can say "I score a girlfriend", which means you get a girlfriend (although a bit more like you "won" a girlfriend, which may carry a slight tone of objectification).
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 12:56
  • 3
    And never assume you can translate something literally from another language and have it make sense. Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 0:44
  • 2
    This comes off as insulting in English.
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 12:45
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    @NotThatGuy and then you can score with your girlfriend. (Hopefully!)
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 18:05
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    Scoring also means to scratch a line on the surface of something - an act that might be ill advised against someone with whom you wished to curry favour
    – Strawberry
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 18:49

6 Answers 6


No, you cannot say "I am scoring somebody" to mean that you are building favor with them.

The verb "score" with a direct object other than "point" or "goal" can mean to cut shallowly with a knife. To "score with" can mean "have sex" so it might be appropriate with your girlfriend, but probably not with your boss.

As you guessed, "score points off of somebody" has an argumentative connotation.

"Score points with somebody" has more of the meaning that you're going for.

  • 49
    A comparable expression is 'winning brownie points' en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownie_points Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 9:57
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    the last sentence here is very confusing. that's not "more of the meaning OP is going for", it is simply the answer to the question.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 13:22
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    "Score" with a direct object can also mean computing a numerical score from the results of some kind of test (which is how I read the phrase at first), but even in that case it's not really applicable to this situation. I don't know if that would be worth mentioning in the answer.
    – David Z
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 18:06
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    You missed the “grading someone” meaning of “to score”
    – jmoreno
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 16:41
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    Caution, your answer kind of reads as though the sense "have sex with" is related to or derived from the sense "make a shallow cut". Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 8:27

You have simply left out two words:

"By arriving early, I am scoring my boss”

Totally wrong.

"By arriving early, I am scoring points with my boss”

Completely correct and normal.

It's that simple.


(Note - as others have explained, the word "score" can also mean "have sexual intercourse with". The two phrases are unrelated. It's commonplace in English that similar-sounding phrases can be totally unrelated.)

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    I don't think this is actually a case of similar-sounding phrases being totally unrelated. They are two different idioms involving the same verb "score", both involving a connotation of achieving a win or a success or the like. Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 16:44
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    James, i really understand what you mean (it could be the "origins were related" or such). But on the ELL site I really think one has to be crystal clear. Note that the whole entire answer to this question is "you forgot the two words 'points with'." Unfortunately the currently ticked answer (notice my comment) first goes in to a long explanation about knives, etc and the meaning of "score". Naturally it is only MHO but I do find that incredibly confusing. Literally the one and only thing the OP needs to know is "you forgot the words 'points with' in that idiom". My opinion.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 16:56
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    Sure. Just write what you think is the best answer and hope people upvote it.... I agree with your answer and I think it's the most appropriate one. The last bit just happens to be "false" rather than "crystal clear":) Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 16:59
  • all true, @JamesMartin (heh, i removed the "totally" !)
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 17:03
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    hi @PeteKirkham - your point is unrelated to the fact that the ticked answer here is very unclear (as are many answers on ELL). Just read my comment under the ticked answer. I'm completely in favor of (as you say) giving more detail on the actual answer to the question. The problem at hand is - very simply - literally not answering the question asked.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 17:13

One might say "That'll get me a few Brownie points" or "I think that's won me a few Brownie points".

Lexico: https://www.lexico.com/definition/brownie_point

This is a jocular usage. In reality most people don't keep score in that way, and they might be offended if you implied that they were doing so.

  • “Brownie” is not necessary. Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 5:23
  • I often explain that marriage involves a point system (often a "Brownie Points" system). You want to get those points and stay slightly ahead of the game. However, you don't want to get too far ahead - that can lead to friction.
    – Flydog57
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 4:25

You mean to say

to win points from

"To score" is to win a point or an achievement.

"To score something" is to award points to that thing.

But in this case you are the one who is being awarded those points by the other person, therefore you are winning the points from the other person.

Also, "to score with someone" is, colloquially, to have sex with that person.


You should never say so. It has a derogatory meaning. Instead of that you should say:

I've won my girlfriend's/boss' heart.

Winning (someone's) heart:
1)To get someone to fall in love with. 2)To gain the love, affection, or admiration of someone.

  • 5
    Win over: to succeed in getting someone's support or agreement, esp. when the person was previously opposed to you. In my situation, my girl or boss does not oppose me previously or whatever and I also don't need their support or whatever. But I just want to prove to them that I am a good one and better than others
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 4:05
  • It can also mean that they love or like you. I don't know why in the Cambridge dictionary they don't have that meaning but if you google it you will find it.
    – lee
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 4:10
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    @Tom I think the "brownie point" statement from rjpond's answer is the closest analogy you will find. I suspect this is cultural, because "keeping scores" generally does not have a positive co-notation in Western culture (at least in settings that aren't explicitly competitive, e.g., sports or games).
    – xLeitix
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 12:23
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    @lee I just Googled "to win over", in surprise at your "they love or like you" defn, and the first 2 pages of meanings all expressed the "previously opposed" (or at very best previously neutral) implication. There's definitely a sense of a changed stance. Do you have a specific link? (or have I misunderstood your comment?)
    – SusanW
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 17:03
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    Thank you again @SusanW atleast you were kind enough to tell me I was wrong.
    – lee
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 18:11

If you say this, you're calling the other person an object you're obtaining.

There's one other meaning of "scoring" that nobody else seems to have mentioned: to obtain a desirable object. Usually, this is said in the past tense, that you've acquired something like a nice car, house, computer, or something similar.

This can be used to refer to people, in a phrase like "How did a guy like you score such a hot blonde?" When you do so, however, you're objectifying the person in question into an object to be attained.

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