Retired English Teacher
Do you hear it where you live? What does it mean?
You will presumably have guessed from 5jj's second answer that the common element in those two meanings is 'destruction'. If the usage is concrete, the smoke is real and comes from an explosion or a fire of some sort. If the usage is figurative, the smoke is metaphorical. (The two, of course, can be mixed together: 'As I watched the letter curl up and burst into flames in the dying embers of the fire I was seeing my dreams go up in smoke.' [Which reminds me: you can also say 'go up in flames' - usually, I think, with a more definite concrete meaning.)
Last edited by BobK; 26-Feb-2011 at 16:34.
I sincerely apologize. I intended no disrespect at all.
Asking someone to elaborate, complete with the word "please", is disrespectful? What's this forum for?
Bob probably assumed (as I did, though I ignored it) that probus had reacted to my mention of context by asking me to elaborate, i.e give a full answer to his original question. If, so, it was not very tactful. It is of course possible that Probus merely asked me to elaborate on what I meant by The exact answer would depend on the context. If that was the case, then Bob addressed that point in the first three lines of his answer.
I have pointed out to some people that the use of 'kindly' as a synonym for 'please' gives a rather officious tone to the message that the writer almost certainly did not intend. I feel that learners can benefit from having this pointed out to them.