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  1. keannu's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Dec 2010
    • Posts: 5,226
    #1

    outside my means

    What does this "outside my means" mean? Beyond my property?

    mo3-46
    I grew up in a small town in northern California, between wide-open ranchland and dark forests, feeling at home in two places: the wild land and books. I read constantly, hungrily, and without direction, collecting a strange stew of facts and ideas about the rest of the world. I longed for a world away from what I knew and outrageously outside my means. One morning I came across a catalog for a college preparatory school called Billups Academy. It had a summer program and offered scholarships for high school students to ‘deepen and extend their intellectual, aesthetic, and moral interests.’ I applied for and won a scholarship. Billups wasn’t just another school

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

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,451
    #2

    Re: outside my means

    It means 'more than I could afford (to pay for).'

  2. BobK's Avatar
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      • UK
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    • Posts: 16,038
    #3

    Re: outside my means

    It's strange that keannu suggested 'beyond' as part of his alternative. BNC has no instances of 'outside + <possessive> + means' but 28 instances of 'beyond + <possessive> + means'.

    As the subject matter here is American, I thought COCA might tell a different story. But not so:

    1 BEYOND THEIR MEANS 78
    2 BEYOND THE MEANS 53 [BobK: followed by 'of']
    3 BEYOND OUR MEANS 33
    4 BEYOND HIS MEANS 27
    5 BEYOND ITS MEANS 17
    6 BEYOND YOUR MEANS 12
    7 BEYOND MY MEANS 7
    8 BEYOND HER MEANS 6
    ...
    There are only 7 cases of other uses of 'beyond * means'. Coincidentally 7 is the total number of COCA hits for 'outside * means'.

    In short, in both Br Eng and Am Eng, 'beyond' is better. Possibly, the geographical context being California, there is a Hispanic tendency in either the writer or the local dialect of English:'outside my means' could be (just my guess) a word-for-word translation of fuera de mis medios.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 19-Aug-2012 at 19:56. Reason: Fix typo

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