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  1. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #1

    throwing a textbook across a room?

    Of course we didn’t whip out the camera for the preteen-throw-the-math-textbook-across-the-dining-room homework battles; we didn’t capture on video that she’s-broken-curfew-again moment; we didn’t preserve for prosperity that brutal Sisyphean struggle when they were toddlers, to keep a house going, children cared for and fed, and working lives and marriage even modestly on track.
    In this case, what does throwing the math text book across the dining table really mean? what does this act signify? I only know that homework is universally hated by kids and thus the act of throwing a textbook across a room should insinuate this sentiment, although I have no idea as to its cultural context. Why dining room?

    And what about 'to preserve for prosperity'? to keep something for prosperity??

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    #2

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    The act would be out of anger or frustration or both. The dining room because that room has a table which is a common place for kids to work on their homework.

  2. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    Hmm but then why 'across' the dining room? doesn't this mean the kid meant to throw the textbook elsewhere and the dining room is just in the middle of his intended target? I've come across similar expressions before (throw a book across the room) but I never fully understood why this expression was how it was. I understand the throwing part: yeah some people tend to grab nearby objects and hurl it at random places to vent out frustration. But 'across the room'? if a kid throws his math textbook across the dining room, where is he throwing it from? is he in the dining room or elsewhere?

    And what about 'preserve for prosperity'? is this to keep a permanent record (photo, video, etc) of a life's episode for later cherishment?

  3. Munch's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade View Post
    Hmm but then why 'across' the dining room? doesn't this mean the kid meant to throw the textbook elsewhere and the dining room is just in the middle of his intended target? I've come across similar expressions before (throw a book across the room) but I never fully understood why this expression was how it was. I understand the throwing part: yeah some people tend to grab nearby objects and hurl it at random places to vent out frustration. But 'across the room'? if a kid throws his math textbook across the dining room, where is he throwing it from? is he in the dining room or elsewhere?

    And what about 'preserve for prosperity'? is this to keep a permanent record (photo, video, etc) of a life's episode for later cherishment?
    Across can mean "from one side to the other side" but it often means just "from one place inside X to another place inside X".

    For example, "He has a scar across his face" does not mean the scar must go all the way from one side of his face to the other. Similarly, in this case the kid is throwing the book from in the dining room to another place in the room. Using "across" suggests the book is travelling quite far in the room and puts the focus on the path of the book - so we clearly picture that the kid is very frustrated.

    The word "prosperity" is a mistake and should be "posterity". "Posterity" means "for the future". "Preserve/Keep/Save for posterity" is a phrase meaning to keep or record something so that people can see it or learn about it in the future. In my experience, this phrase is often but not always used in a semi-humourous sense, as in this example.

    "Posterity" is related to the word "post" in the sense of "after", like in the words "postpone", "postmodern" and "posterior".

    By the way, I always enjoy a reference to disembowelment in a user name.

  4. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    Thank you very much. Now everything is clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Munch View Post
    The word "prosperity" is a mistake and should be "posterity".
    Ouch. I hope the Globe and Mail noticed this typo before it printed out its offline version.


    Quote Originally Posted by Munch View Post
    By the way, I always enjoy a reference to disembowelment in a user name.
    The sad thing is, I didn't even know what it meant when I first picked it as my user name many years ago. However, it didn't take me long to discover its meaning and embrace this new identity as a belly-gutting fiend.

  5. Munch's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade View Post
    Thank you very much. Now everything is clear.



    Ouch. I hope the Globe and Mail noticed this typo before it printed out its offline version.




    The sad thing is, I didn't even know what it meant when I first picked it as my user name many years ago. However, it didn't take me long to discover its meaning and embrace this new identity as a belly-gutting fiend.
    No problem. I googled the phrase "preserve for prosperity" and quite a few people have used it mistakenly. Prosperity is a slightly more common word than posterity, although neither are in most peoples everday vocabulary. I looked up the article online and sent an email to the writer, asking her about her use of the phrase. I'll let you know if she replies.
    Last edited by Munch; 06-Oct-2010 at 07:27.

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    #7

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    "Posterity" is used in the preamble to the US Constitution, which every schoolchild should commit to memory at some point in their schooling.

  6. Munch's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    "Posterity" is used in the preamble to the US Constitution, which every schoolchild should commit to memory at some point in their schooling.
    Hey! You guys don't run the entire world. Yet...

  7. Munch's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    Sorry for the double post but I think this is worth mentioning.

    Phrases like "preserve for prosperity" are called eggcorns - they are clearly incorrect in written English but sound like the correct phrase and have some type of logic to them. The name "eggcorn" comes from a mistake some people make hearing the word "acorn", the nut from an oak tree, and writing it as "egg" + "corn". It makes some sense, because acorns are shaped like egg and are a little bit like corn - they come from a plant.

    This particular eggcorn is mentioned already on the eggcorn forums.

    There are other examples if you follow the links. I think this topic might be interesting for students of English.

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    #10

    Re: throwing a textbook across a room?

    Quote Originally Posted by Munch View Post
    Hey! You guys don't run the entire world. Yet...
    LOL. I meant that every American should at least remember the word from their schooling.

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