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      • Native Language:
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    #1

    have nothing on somebody

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    I have carefully analyzed the pre-Olympic performances of Liddell, who won in 1924, and J. W. Rinkel, who we hope is going to win this year. Liddell had nothing on Rinkel in preliminaries.

    have nothing on somebody = have no priority over somebody

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 27-Aug-2011 at 06:09.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: have nothing on somebody

    As I read it, it would be similar to the idiom "he couldn't hold a candle to him." I think you know that one already, don't you?

    A had nothing on B (in this context) means that B is far superior to A.

    (When I first saw the subject line, I thought it was going to mean that they had no evidence to support a suspicion that someone had done seomthing wrong. As in "We can't hold him any longer. I think he did it, be we have nothing on him. We need more evidence to make an arrest.")
    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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    #3

    Re: have nothing on somebody

    It's "Olympic."

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