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  1. #1
    outofdejavu's Avatar
    outofdejavu is offline Member
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    Default About of the content of "At the coalface" on UsingEnglish.com

    At the coalface - Idiom Definition - UsingEnglish.com

    If you work at the coalface, you deal with the real problems and issues, rather than sitting in a office discussing things in a detached way.
    1. Should it be "an office"?

    2. Is "coalface" one word or two words ("coal face")?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: About of the content of "At the coalface" on UsingEnglish.com

    1 Yes, thanks for spotting it.
    2 It's fine as it is: AskOxford: coalface

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: About of the content of "At the coalface" on UsingEnglish.com

    Quote Originally Posted by outofdejavu View Post
    1. Should it be "an office"?

    2. Is "coalface" one word or two words ("coal face")?
    It started as two, became hyphenated, and is commonly now one; dictionaries of various vintages will have different views. Some teachers may have strong views one way or the other. I think today there's a tendency in favour of one word.

    There is a related term, first used a reference to 'coalface', emphasizing the more onerous aspects of teaching: example - 'Lots of directives come from various government departments about what should be happening in schools, but teachers at the chalk face know what is really happening.'

    This is a reference to a kind of teaching that I knew when I was in short trousers (or as they say in America, 'knee pants'), though as a teacher I have never used chalk. Like many metaphors, it is stuck in a time-warp; a modern phone is still 'off the hook', teachers are 'at the chalk face', young children call diesel locomotives 'choo-choos' even though they've only ever seen a steam locomotive in a museum or in a picture book...

    b

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