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Sometimes when people point me on my mistakes in grammar or speech I say as a joke: "I was just checking you! :)" meaning that it was a trap, to see if people notice the mistake. However, today I was told that it is grammatically incorrect and I can't use the word "checking" in this context, and word "testing" should be used instead.

I am actually very perplexed, because I don't see a difference between "Just checking you" and "Just testing you". So, what is the correct word to choose?

Thanks in advance!

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    [correction: point out my mistakes to me]. You can say; I was just checking, yes. But not checking you. That would be like an inspection or something.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 20:02
  • testing you, though, is fine.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 20:28
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    Note: it's not grammatically incorrect; it just doesn't line up with how "check" is typically used. Note, you're using it transitively ("checking you"); there's also "I was just checking," which isn't really the right sense either; that's more like "I was inquiring or trying to find something out." Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 22:12

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You might say, "I was just trying to see if you were paying attention."

The idea behind this is that if you had been paying attention, you would know at once that I had made a mistake. If I thought you were not paying attention, I might test this idea by saying something absurd to see if you noticed. This sort of joke is common enough in English, so I don't believe most people would accept at face value my claim that I was just testing you. They would know I was joking.

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