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  1. #1
    JACEK1 is offline Key Member
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    someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    Hello everybody!

    I know what expression "someone has their work cut out (for them)" means.

    What I would like to know is whether or not this phrase may be followed by ING form or to infinitive.

    For instance:

    Should I say:

    She'll really have her work cut out to finish all those reports by the end of the week.

    or

    She'll really have her work cut out finishing those reports by the end of the week.

    or maybe both the variants are possible and it does not matter whether I use ING form or to infinitive.

    What is your opinion?

    As far as the meaning of the phrase is concerned, I would like to ask another question.

    Does the sentence "She'll really have her work cut out to finish/finishing all those reports by the end of the week" mean that all the hard work consists of / involves / entails / means (her) finishing all those reports by the end of the week?

    What do you think?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    I'd use "finishing".

    "She'll really have her work cut out finishing all those reports by the end of the week" means that it will be very challenging for her to do finish them by the deadline. She might or might not succeed.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
    JACEK1 is offline Key Member
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    Do you rule out the use of to infinitive in this structure?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    Personally, yes.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. #5
    JACEK1 is offline Key Member
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    So, the conclusion is that it is always better to use ING form with the structure, am I right?

  6. #6
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    For me, yes.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. #7
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    The Cambridge Dictionary uses the infinitive.

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dict...ut-out-for-you

    Edit: in fact, this is the very same sentence quoted in post #1 of this thread! Why didn't tell us the source of that sentence, Jacek1?

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    Interesting. I've never used that form and I don't think I've heard it used.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. #9
    JACEK1 is offline Key Member
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    Yes, exactly. That is where I took it from. I thought to myself that I had no right to undermine the opinion of people who have spoken English since they were born whereas I have been learning it for forty years but it is not my native language.

  10. #10
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    Re: someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Interesting. I've never used that form and I don't think I've heard it used.
    I always took it to be the standard form used by (and instantly recognizable to) native speakers, although I don't suppose the -ing form is wrong or unnatural.

    Here are two more dictionaries that use the infinitive form in their example sentences.

    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/di...r-work-cut-out
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/de...s_work_cut_out

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