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  1. #1
    EUNJJUNG is offline Junior Member
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    Question a gauntlet dropped in their laps.

    I'm reading an article called ""Drinking Age Has Simply Got to Go," Say Campus Riots" by Pamela White.
    I have one question.

    "Not surprisingly, police were frustrated and impatient. They'd tried the kid glove approach and had found a gauntlet dropped in their laps. The students were foul mouthed and furious."

    Is the underlined phrase a idiomatic expression?
    or Can i just interpret it literally?

  2. #2
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: a gauntlet dropped in their laps.

    No, it's meant metaphorically, not literally.
    There are a couple of idioms involved here.
    1- Throw down the gauntlet (here, we have a variation of it). That means to challenge someone to do something.
    2- (Land) in someone's lap. That means someone is tasked/shouldered with a responsibility for something.

    Note that I have moved your thread to our Idioms section.

  3. #3
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: a gauntlet dropped in their laps.

    Quote Originally Posted by EUNJJUNG View Post
    Is the underlined phrase an idiomatic expression? (no question mark) or can i just interpret it literally?
    Always capitalize the word "I". Don't capitalize other words except for proper nouns and the first word of a sentence. Use "an" before any word that begins with a vowel sound in spoken English.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. #4
    EUNJJUNG is offline Junior Member
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    Question Re: a gauntlet dropped in their laps.

    So then, this phrase 'They'd tried the kid glove approach' is metaphorically expression, too?
    Last edited by GoesStation; 17-Jan-2021 at 19:48.

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    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: a gauntlet dropped in their laps.

    Quote Originally Posted by EUNJJUNG View Post
    So then, this phrase, 'They'd tried the kid glove approach', is a metaphorically expression, too?
    Yes. Kid-glove should be hyphenated there because it's a compound adjective.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. #6
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    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: a gauntlet dropped in their laps.

    It's called an extended metaphor. The writer has combined two common expressions.

    To wear kid gloves (gloves made of the skin of a young goat) means to treat carefully.

    To throw down the gauntlet means to challenge to a fight. In the middle ages, knights would throw a gauntlet (a big glove) at the feet of an adversary to (as we say today) call him out.

    Used by themselves, the expressions are cliches and usually boring. Combining them in an extended metaphor makes for clever, lively writing.
    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.

  7. #7
    alexanderfinn is offline Newbie
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    Re: a gauntlet dropped in their laps.

    One thing to avoid is called the 'mixed metaphor'. The sentences you gave are good because the writer is talking about gloves and keeps that image going, but let's say that you know the expression 'the boot is on the other foot' (which means that someone who was in a weak position has now become stronger than his/her opponent) and you tried to say

    They threw down the gauntlet but the boot was now on the other foot.

    It looks like it makes sense but it is very poor because first you used the image of a glove and then a boot in your metaphors. You shouldn't do that.

    Native speakers make this mistake regularly. Yesterday a colleague said, 'we wanted a level playing field but we are being kept in the dark.' Do you have any idea what she wanted to say?
    Last edited by alexanderfinn; 17-Feb-2021 at 12:34.

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