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    #1

    Question Idiom

    Hi all,
    would anyone please tell me the what these idioms mean?

    1)Ok!you'd better draw a line under it and focus your work now?

    2)"How long did it take you to finish the first round?" "How long is a piece of string?!"

    Thanks alot.

  1. Munch's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Idiom

    Quote Originally Posted by Radman View Post
    Hi all,
    would anyone please tell me the what these idioms mean?

    1)Ok!you'd better draw a line under it and focus your work now?

    2)"How long did it take you to finish the first round?" "How long is a piece of string?!"

    Thanks alot.
    1) Finish it and move on, decide on something and then stop worrying about it.
    2) It is hard to say, it depends how you measure it.

    Number 2 is a strange use of the phrase to me. I might use that phrase if someone asks me a question with an uncertain answer. For example:

    Q: How long should sex last?
    A: How long is a piece of string?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Idiom

    Quote Originally Posted by Munch View Post

    Number 2 is a strange use of the phrase to me. I might use that phrase if someone asks me a question with an uncertain answer. For example:

    Q: How long should sex last?
    A: How long is a piece of string?
    It's quite normal to me, and your example is natural.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Idiom

    I've never heard that second one before. Is it common?
    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.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Idiom

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I've never heard that second one before. Is it common?
    It seems to me that it is very common in BrE, in speech at least. I have also seen it in newspaper articles. In the sentence quoted by Radman, it seems unusual to me, because the person asked presumably knows the exact answer.
    Had the question been, "How long will it take you to finish the first round?", the "How long is a piece of string" answer would have been natural.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Idiom

    So is it sort of a combination of "It depends on the situation" and "You're a bit stupid to not realize that it depends"?
    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. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Idiom

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    So is it sort of a combination of "It depends on the situation" and "You're a bit stupid to not realize that it depends"?
    ish

  7. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Idiom

    I will not use it, but I will recognize it when I see it now. Thanks.
    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.

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