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To get straight to the point, here are two examples:

Oh, come off it, you're smarter than me!

Oh, come on, you're smarter than me!

Do they sound natural? Can you tell me the difference if there's any? Or are they the same? Thanks.

2 Answers 2

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"Come on" is encouraging somebody to acknowledge that what you are saying is obviously true.

"Come off it" indicates that what the other person has just said is obviously untrue.

If somebody is simply being modest about their intelligence, then "come on" is probably more appropriate.

If somebody is having a bad day and saying negative things about themselves, you could also say "come off it"...

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There are contexts where the two sentences are almost the same, as well as contexts where they are quite different. From the Free Dictionary "Come off it" means "stop acting or speaking foolishly or pretentiously". In this case it would refer to speaking foolishly and would be telling somebody to stop underestimating themselves or denigrating themselves. It would be said to somebody who had just said "I can't do this."

From the Free Dictionary again, "Come on" can mean "Stop it", but Cambridge Dictionary also has the meaning "said to encourage someone to do something, especially to hurry or try harder, or to tell you something". With the first meaning it would likely mean "stop thinking you can't do it", but with the second meaning it is an encouragement to try or keep trying. It might be said to somebody who was still thinking about the problem or who was thinking about giving up halfway through.

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  • Dad: why haven't you done your homework? Boy: the dog ate it. Dad: Oh, come on! (or come off it!) Maybe this is a mainly British usage? Aug 23, 2021 at 13:04
  • @MichaelHarvey, yes it's Australian usage too. But "Come on" is also encouragement, as mispronounced in "Carna Demons" (in barracking for a local football club).
    – Peter
    Aug 23, 2021 at 13:26

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