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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    To have ti down to something

    What does "I have it down to a science" mean?

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    #2

    Re: To have ti down to something

    Where did you encounter this sentence, beachboy?

  2. beachboy's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: To have ti down to something

    On facebook. A lady from Michigan wrote it...

  3. Skrej's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: To have ti down to something

    It is an idiom meaning a person has performed a particular action so many times they have mastered it to the point of perfection. They know exactly what they're doing and can precisely duplicate the results each time.

    Idiomatically, ff something is referred to as a 'science', it is precise, regimented, and each step can be documented. If something is referred to as an 'art', then it's more hit or miss, intuitive and can't easily be explained. Each result may show show individuality, and may not be an exact duplicate of the previous attempt.

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    #5

    Re: To have ti down to something

    not a teacher

    I agree with Skrej, although, at the risk of confusing the matter, I'll add a small point.

    The phrase "I've got it down to an art" (or … a fine art) could also have the same meaning as the OP's example.
    In this sense, "art" means a skill at doing a specific thing: the art of deception, the art of conversation.

    So this might be a typical exchange.
    A: That's a very difficult cake to get right.
    B: Don't worry, I've baked it so often I've got it down to an art. It's beautiful every time.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: To have ti down to something

    In BrE, JMurray's example would always be "I've got it down to a fine art". I'd never heard it used without "fine" until today.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: To have ti down to something

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Student: May I ask you a question, ma'am?

    Teacher: Yes, you may.

    Student: Class starts at 8 a.m., and you always walk into the room at 7:59 a.m. Don't you have to prepare?

    Teacher: I have been teaching this class for 35 years, so I have it down to a science. / I can do it with one hand tied behind me. / I can do it blindfolded.

    Student: Wow!

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: To have ti down to something

    For information, TheParser's post has brought up another AmE vs BrE difference. In the UK, we generally say "I can do it with one hand tied behind my back".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: To have ti down to something

    That is the way we say it in AmE also. I have never heard Parser's version.

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    #10

    Re: To have ti down to something

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    "Why, I can whip your ____ with one hand tied behind me." -- THE TRAILSMAN (2005) by Jon Sharpe.

    "I can lead this class with one hand tied behind me." -- THE SACRED HARP (2004) BY Buell E. Cobb, Jr.

    "I have turned back from a climb that I knew I could do with one hand tied behind me." -- THE VISION AND THE VOICE (1999) by Crowley, Neuberg, and Desti.

    (Quotations were accessed through the "books" section of Google.)

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