Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    frogboxer is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    79
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default It's all relative / Everything's relative (to what?)

    And what does it mean when somebody says "It's all relative" or "Everything's relative"? I often hear it used when there is a clash of opinions on a given subject.
    E.g., I think she's pretty. Dave thinks she's not pretty at all. It's all relative.

    Is this correct? If not, what exactly does this phrase mean?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    23,277
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: It's all relative / Everything's relative (to what?)

    It's relative to whatever the speaker is comparing it to in their head.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    frogboxer is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    79
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: It's all relative / Everything's relative (to what?)

    Thanks - but is the given example somewhat accurate?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    23,277
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: It's all relative / Everything's relative (to what?)

    The example is more likely to be heard as a conversation between two people.

    John: I think Sarah's really pretty.
    Dave: Do you? I don't really think so. She's OK, I guess.
    John: Well, it's all relative.

    John would have been comparing Sarah to other girls he knows and Dave would have been doing the same, but it's unlikely that they know the exact same girls.

    I'm interested to know something about some of your questions. You are a native English speaker and, while I understand your queries about British punctuation because you're American, I'm surprised by some of your questions about the meaning of phrases. Do people not use "It's all relative" in AmE and you're asking about its use in BrE?
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
    frogboxer is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    79
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: It's all relative / Everything's relative (to what?)

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    The example is more likely to be heard as a conversation between two people.

    John: I think Sarah's really pretty.
    Dave: Do you? I don't really think so. She's OK, I guess.
    John: Well, it's all relative.

    John would have been comparing Sarah to other girls he knows and Dave would have been doing the same, but it's unlikely that they know the exact same girls.

    I'm interested to know something about some of your questions. You are a native English speaker and, while I understand your queries about British punctuation because you're American, I'm surprised by some of your questions about the meaning of phrases. Do people not use "It's all relative" in AmE and you're asking about its use in BrE?

    Its use in BrE.

  6. #6
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,054
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: It's all relative / Everything's relative (to what?)

    Certainly in Canada some people use "It's all relative."

Similar Threads

  1. relative to
    By keannu in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-Jun-2012, 04:27
  2. Replies: 19
    Last Post: 23-May-2012, 15:52
  3. relative to
    By paris 06 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Feb-2011, 12:35
  4. relative
    By IMPSX-UE in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-Feb-2009, 04:53
  5. relative pronoun VS relative adverb
    By hela in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-Oct-2004, 02:11

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •