Results 1 to 8 of 8
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Apr 2010
    • Posts: 425
    #1

    fair to disappointing

    His mark in his final exams were fair to disappointing.

    May I know the meaning of 'fair' above and its collocation with 'disappointing'? And then the whole meaning of the sentence..

    is the 'disappointing' here a gerund or participle?
    This type of sentence is tough to me, I have difficulties understanding them.

    Thank you very much. Have a nice weekend.

  1. Banned
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Hungarian
      • Home Country:
      • Hungary
      • Current Location:
      • Hungary

    • Join Date: Feb 2010
    • Posts: 1,121
    #2

    Re: fair to disappointing

    It is a play on the idiom, 'fair to middling', which means 'only tolerably good', 'so-so'. 'Fair to disappointing' is an altered version, which the author used for the sake of a little humour, and which means 'very bad'.

    Definition of fair to middling from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #3

    Re: fair to disappointing

    Quote Originally Posted by panicmonger View Post
    His mark in his final exams were fair to disappointing.
    Firstly, the above sentence is not a good one as far as I am concerned. It's been a long long time since I last took final exams, but I don't think there is one mark for multiple exams. And sentence does say "exams" and "were".

    May I know the meaning of 'fair' "fair" means 'so-so, neither very good nor very bad, passable'.
    Fair | Define Fair at Dictionary.com
    So-so | Define So-so at Dictionary.com

    above and its collocation with 'disappointing'? There is no particular collocation betweeen "fair" and "disappointing". One could also say 'fair to (below average)(poor)(very poor)(terrible)(etc)' or 'fair to (good)(very good)(excellent)(etc)' in the other direction.
    The expression "fair to disappointing" just shows a range exam results.

    And then the whole meaning of the sentence. His exam results ranged from "fair", the best result, to "disappointing", the worst result.
    'disappointing' here a gerund or participle? It's an adjectice, so it's a participle.
    Disappointing | Define Disappointing at Dictionary.com
    A disappointing result is not a good or pleasing result. In particular, the result is not as good as you hoped for or expected to get.

    "fair to disappointing" has nothing to do with the expression "fair to middling".
    Middling | Define Middling at Dictionary.com
    "middling" means 'ordinary', 'so-so', the same meaning as "fair".

    "fair to disappointing" was not used for the sake of humor and does not meaning 'very bad'.
    2006

  2. euncu's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Turkish
      • Home Country:
      • Turkey
      • Current Location:
      • Turkey

    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,314
    #4

    Re: fair to disappointing

    Quote Originally Posted by panicmonger View Post
    ... fair to disappointing.
    It'd make sense to me if it were "from fair to disappointing". Is my point right here?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #5

    Re: fair to disappointing

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    It'd make sense to me if it were "from fair to disappointing". Is my point right here?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.
    Despite 2006's comments, I think the first part of Corum's answer was absolutely correct: It is a play on the idiom, 'fair to middling', which means 'only tolerably good', 'so-so'. 'Fair to disappointing' is an altered version, which the author used for the sake of a little humour.

    It would not be wrong to add from, but that word is not normally present in the idiomatic phrase to which Corum refers, and so is better omitted in the new version.

    I disagree slightly with Corum on the last few words of his response: which means 'very bad'. As disappointing is at the lower end of the range mentioned, I'd say it means pretty disappointing.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #6

    Re: fair to disappointing

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Despite 2006's comments, I think the first part of Corum's answer was absolutely correct: It is a play on the idiom, 'fair to middling', which means 'only tolerably good', 'so-so'. 'Fair to disappointing' is an altered version, which the author used for the sake of a little humour.

    It would not be wrong to add from, but that word is not normally present in the idiomatic phrase to which Corum refers, and so is better omitted in the new version.

    I disagree slightly with Corum on the last few words of his response: which means 'very bad'. As disappointing is at the lower end of the range mentioned, I'd say it means pretty disappointing.
    Thanks for your comments.
    One thing all who respond have to agree on, or not, is whether there is one result or a range of results. You seem to agree that there is a range of results.
    Since there can be a wide range of words replacing "fair" and "disappointing", it seems that whatever phrase is chosen will always have a literal meaning. And every phrase will have a different meaning, showing a range.. By contrast, "fair to middling" has a 'fixed' meaning, that being 'about average, acceptable'. By "fixed meaning", I mean it does not show a range.
    There seems to be a qualitative difference between the two phrases. ('fair to middling' and 'fair to disappointing')
    If the first is an idiom, the second certainly isn't.
    What does fair to middling mean? definition, meaning and pronunciation (Free English Language Dictionary)

    So is "fair to disappointing" really a direct play on "fair to middling" or do all the two phrases have in common is the first two words? The fact that "fair to disappointing" reminds us of "fair to middling" doesn't necessarily mean that there is a direct play. Is 'average to very good' also "an altered version" of "fair to middling"?

    In my first post I said that "fair to disappointing" has nothing to do with "fair to middling". It would have been better to say that I don't think one was a direct play on the other.
    Why can't the author just literally mean that the results ranged from "fair to disappointing"?
    Last edited by 2006; 22-Nov-2010 at 03:34.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #7

    Re: fair to disappointing

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    There seems to be a qualitative difference between the two phrases. ('fair to middling' and 'fair to disappointing')
    If the first is an idiom, the second certainly isn't. I agree.

    In my first post I said that "fair to disappointing" has nothing to do with "fair to middling". It would have been better to say that I don't think one was a direct play on the other.


    Why can't the author just literally mean that the results ranged from "fair to disappointing"? It is possible that he did. It's just that when I read the original post, the first thought that came to my mind was 'fair to middling allusion'. I then read Corum's response, and knew that I was not alone. Your first post in the thread seemed to me at the time far too dismissive of Corum's suggestion. We appear now to be closer in our ideas. I certainly cannot prove that it has anything to do with the idiom.
    5

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #8

    Re: fair to disappointing

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    5
    I was dismissive because I didn't and still don't think that the phrase was a direct play on "fair to middling", and more importantly because corum was quite wrong in saying it meant "very bad". Also, I don't think it has anything to do with humor.

Similar Threads

  1. [General] fair
    By Will17 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Aug-2010, 16:29
  2. fair
    By 555 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 28-Aug-2009, 19:20
  3. difference between disappointed and disappointing
    By confused student in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 13-Jul-2008, 14:14
  4. fair enough
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-Dec-2007, 07:08
  5. Just and fair
    By **C@RL$$** in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 22-Jan-2007, 06:49

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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