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    • Join Date: Oct 2005
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    #1

    that's a start

    hello, what does "that's a start" mean? i heard this on the radio and the speaker didn't really sound positive when he said that. can you tell me the meaning of it as well as indicate whether this phrase is used in a positive and/or negative way? thank you in advance!

  1. Philly's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
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    #2

    Re: that's a start

    .
    A start is a first step (in doing something).
    .
    "That's a start" can be used positively or negatively, depending on the context and the speaker's point of view. If what you heard sounded negative to you, then it may have been because the speaker had expected the progress to be much further along than it is (or possibly even finished already). So he/she would see the start in a negative way since everything else is still missing.
    .
    On the other hand, if someone has found starting something impossible to do, and then finally manages to overcome all the obstacles and get started, the start would be seen in a much more positive light.
    .

  2. RonBee's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: that's a start

    You also hear that said in a couple of other ways. "That's a good start" indicates that the speaker wishes to satisfaction at what has been done so far and encourage further effort. "At least it's a start" expresses disappointment that more hasn't been done.



    • Join Date: Oct 2005
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    #4

    Re: that's a start

    thank you both for the answer. i still have some questions. so if this phrase is used in a negative way, that means the speaker is being sarcastic, correct? because for example, the speaker is expecting something to be done already but it is not so he/she is using "that's a start" to say the progress to be too slow. even though he/she is saying "that's a start" in this kind of situation, it's not a "first-step" so it'll be a sarcastic remark, right? and lastly, "at least it's a start" means the same as when "that's a start" is used in a negative way? thank you!

  3. RonBee's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: that's a start

    Quote Originally Posted by christine E View Post
    so if this phrase is used in a negative way, that means the speaker is being sarcastic, correct?
    Yes. Of course, sarcasm is usually conveyed by tone of voice.

    Quote Originally Posted by christine E View Post
    because for example, the speaker is expecting something to be done already but it is not so he/she is using "that's a start" to say the progress to be too slow. even though he/she is saying "that's a start" in this kind of situation, it's not a "first-step" so it'll be a sarcastic remark, right?
    Well, it would be a first step, but it would be a puny one (in the opinion of the speaker). Yes, it would be a mildly sarcastic remark.

    Quote Originally Posted by christine E View Post
    and lastly, "at least it's a start" means the same as when "that's a start" is used in a negative way?
    Yes. It's a mild rebuke.

    (Please try not to run all your questions together.)


    BTW, in my last post I unintentionally left out a word. Can you tell me what that word is?



    • Join Date: Oct 2005
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    #6

    Re: that's a start

    thank you RonBee! i got it now. to answer your question, i think you left out a word "express" between "to" and "satisfaction". that's my guess

  4. RonBee's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: that's a start

    Excellent!


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