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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    a sign of things to come

    It's a sign of things to come....
    Does this expression necessarily refer to bad events that are to occur in the future? Or good events too? Is there an even more common expression in everyday English that conveys the same idea?

  2. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a sign of things to come

    I can't think of another expression, but "harbinger" is often used in that context. It may be either positive or negative. "The early-blooming crocuses are a harbinger of spring."

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    #3

    Re: a sign of things to come

    An "omen" is another expression.

    Omen | Define Omen at Dictionary.com

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    #4

    Re: a sign of things to come


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    #5

    Re: a sign of things to come

    [QUOTE=beachboy;815060]It's a sign of things to come....
    Does this expression necessarily refer to bad events that are to occur in the future? Or good events too?


    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Great question! Since we human beings (some people say) are negative by nature, it does seem that "a sign of things to come" often (usually?) refers to something negative. But after communicating with "Professor Google" and my dictionaries, it is clear that it can refer to both negative and positive events.

    (a) I have noticed, however, that some writers feel it necessary to qualify it by writing something like a positive/ hopeful/ good sign of things to come.

    (2) According to McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs (by Richard A. Spears) that I checked on Google books, there are three expressions: a harbinger of things to come [just as Teacher Riquecohen taught us]/ a portent of things to come/ a sign of things to come.

    (a) I found some positive meanings:

    (i) "Frost is a harbinger of winter." (Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary)

    (ii) "[President Kennedy's] political debut was a portent of fame to come." (The New Oxford American Dictionary)

    (3) Finally, I found this humorous positive example in a Google book entitled Act like a Lady/ Think like a Man by Steve Harvey:

    Be thankful for the gifts he gives you, but don't take it as the end all/ be all sign that you're going to get a ring next. A gift is just that -- a gift. Not a sign [of things] to come.

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    #6

    Re: a sign of things to come

    You think winter is a positive thing?

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