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Thread: "down time"

  1. #1
    jasonlulu_2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Default "down time"

    In setting out its plans for a five-term year, Nottingham City Council is seeking to reduce the summer holiday down to four and a half weeks, with a more balanced five terms of roughly eight weeks, each followed by a two-week break. We believe this will give real "down time" for school staff and pupils alike but will be short enough not to cause a real break in learning.

    Does "down time" mean "spare time" as defined in a dictionary here?

    Why does the author use the quotation mark" " plus real?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "down time"

    I think it means a break/time to relax, take things easy.

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: "down time"

    I have a feeling it originated in the IT world: 'There will be down-time for routine maintenance on Sunday. Systems will be available again at 08.00 on Monday.'

    But I've heard it used in Tdol's sense.

    b

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "down time"

    I was trying to adapt the IT meaning to the context.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "down time"

    It's a pretty common phrase in the US. It means time when you don't have any obligations or things you must do. After a stressful day at work, I'd like a little down time (maybe sitting on the couch just watching TV or surfing Facebook) before I start the evening routine of dinner preparations, homework supervision, etc.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: "down time"

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonlulu_2000 View Post
    ...
    Why does the author use the quotation mark" " plus real?

    Thanks[/SIZE]
    The quotation marks mark the fact that it's informal.

    They use 'real' because they mean something more than just switching off for a day or two.

    b

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