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    #1

    Smile while the getting was good

    Hello. Would you please explain the underlined part?
    I don't quite follow what "getting" means in this context.
    Thank you.


    -----from Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift
    My husgand's parents, jet-setters from Long Island, didn't travel.
    They went abroad.
    Dressed to kill.
    Thank you for going while the getting was good,
    and for bringing back the photos.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: while the getting was good

    I'm not really clear. I would have expected to see "Thank you for going while the going was good ...", meaning "It was good of you to go while it was a good idea/while it was easy to get there/while it was possible to have a good experience there/at the right time".

    "While the verb+ing is good" doesn't have a specific definition. In BrE, we use it more to refer to the present. For example, if I were visiting a friend and I had to drive home but bad weather was forecast for the evening, I might say in the afternoon, "Right, I'm going to go while the going's good", to mean "I'll leave now while the weather is still good for driving".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: while the getting was good

    While the going was good works much better for me too- while they had better chances/opportunities.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: while the getting was good

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I'm not really clear. I would have expected to see "Thank you for going while the going was good ...". . . .
    Maybe it's just an Americanism.

    We say "Get while the getting is good." It means "Leave while you still can." We would only say "Go while the going is good" in the literal way you're reading it.

    As I'm always saying to Frindle2, this is word play. She uses "going" instead of "getting" to turn the expression into a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that she's glad they went abroad while they could - and brought back pictures.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: while the getting was good

    That must be an AmE vs BrE difference. I can imagine "I'll get it while the getting's good" being used but "get/getting" would be used with its normal meaning of "obtain".

    John: I'm going to get an ice-cream.
    Steve: Well, you'd better go soon. They're selling out fast.
    John: Then I'll get one while the getting's good!

    Is "get" used in AmE to mean "go/leave" in everyday speech or just in that one phrase?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: while the getting was good

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Is "get" used in AmE to mean "go/leave" in everyday speech or just in that one phrase?
    In the imperative, Get! (pronounced "git") means "go away!" I once chased an unwelcome religious solicitor away from my front door with that word. It was admittedly rather impolite of me, yet strangely satisfying.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 16-May-2016 at 16:04. Reason: To fix a formatting mistake.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: while the getting was good

    Exactly! We also say "from the git-go," meaning "right from the very beginning."* But I doubt it's in a dictionary.

    Get it? Got it? Good!


    *We also say "from Jump Street" - which eventually got its own TV show, starring a very young Johnny Depp.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 16-May-2016 at 16:07.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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