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    #1

    all to pieces

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    Alma…. I seem to be all to pieces.

    all to pieces = awfully exhausted

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Regard,

    V

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: all to pieces

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    Alma…. I seem to be all to pieces.

    all to pieces = awfully exhausted

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Regard,

    V
    I'll be interested to hear what others have to say, but I've never heard this. I've heard "gone to pieces" or "completely gone to pieces", which means the same as "having fallen apart". It's like an emotional collapse, or when someone's very upset.

    I wanted to make a speech at my uncle's funeral but I'd completely gone to pieces.

    When Sandra Bullock walked on stage to accept her Oscar, she went to pieces.

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    #3

    Re: all to pieces

    Hi emsr 2d2,

    Here is another example to strengthen my interpretation of the phrase in question:

    Darling, when this shemozzle is over I’m going to take to my bed for a week and rest up. I feel all to pieces. (Dickens, “The Happy Prisoner”)

    shemozzle = a confused situation or affair; a mess

    feel all to pieces = be all to pieces = feel/be awfully exhausted = feel/be over-strained/ overtired

    I hope you wouldn’t be angry with my persistence.

    Regards,

    V.

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    #4

    Re: all to pieces

    Hi emrs 2d2,

    You may inquire further into the usage of the phrase in question:

    Poor shaky chap, you are! All to pieces at the first shot. Buck up, Joe. (J.Galsworthy, “Old English”)

    all to pieces = lose one’s self-control, lose one’s presence of mind

    Regards,

    V.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: all to pieces

    As your last two examples came from Dickens and Galsworthy, respectively, I can only say that I'm not surprised that I haven't heard the phrase used that way. Apart from texts I was forced to read at school, I generally don't read anything written before about 1960!!! I'm guessing your original quote was probably from a fairly old text too, as it contains the name Alma, which is a very old-fashioned name.

    Perhaps it's a phrase that's fallen out of use. Of course, I may be shown to be wrong if many of the other native speakers here are familiar with it!

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