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  1. suprunp's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Ukrainian
      • Home Country:
      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Apr 2011
    • Posts: 599
    #1

    I was all over the place

    ‘Don’t you like Samoa?’ I asked casually, for something to say.
    [...]
    ‘I was all over the place when I first came out,’ he said.
    [...]
    ‘I went away for good about three years ago, but I came back.’ He hesitated.
    ‘My wife wanted to come back. She was born here, you know.’

    (W.S. Maugham; The Pool)


    I suppose that 'come out' here should mean the following:
    to pass to a place thought of as away from or remote from the center of affairs — often used of passage to a remote or unsettled area
    my father came out to New Zealand in the '60s
    (Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language)
    Assuming this is a correct assumption I think 'I was all over the place' should mean 'everywhere'. If it is so then why didn't he say "I had been..."?
    There is another meaning, of which I'm not sure whether it can be applied to people - 'in disorder or disarray'.

    Would you be so kind to explain it to me?

    Thanks.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,907
    #2

    Re: I was all over the place

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    ‘Don’t you like Samoa?’ I asked casually, for something to say.
    [...]
    ‘I was all over the place when I first came out,’ he said.
    [...]
    ‘I went away for good about three years ago, but I came back.’ He hesitated.
    ‘My wife wanted to come back. She was born here, you know.’

    (W.S. Maugham; The Pool)


    I suppose that 'come out' here should mean the following:


    Assuming this is a correct assumption I think 'I was all over the place' should mean 'everywhere'. If it is so then why didn't he say "I had been..."?
    There is another meaning, of which I'm not sure whether it can be applied to people - 'in disorder or disarray'.

    Would you be so kind to explain it to me?

    Thanks.
    I think by "I was all over the place" he meant his emotions were very erratic, perhaps he had trouble settling down and feeling happy there. That feeling started when he first arrived in Samoa so "was" is correct. It would be "had been" if he had felt like that before arriving in Samoa.

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