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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 1

    Question "on the fly" vs "on-the-fly"

    Is there any difference between "on the fly" and "on-the-fly" upon the usage and meaning?
    In the following sentence:
    You can greatly improve the experience with large content by downloading it on-the-fly and showing slick progress indicators. (Talking about some technology like flash, with which we can using it anytime, anywhere as long as we have a browser like IE or Firefox.)
    which meaning should I take for this phrase?
    1: in motion : busy
    2: while still in the air : without the ball bouncing <the home run
    carried 450 feet on the fly>
    3: in a hurry and often without preparation : hastily, spontaneously
    <making decisions on the fly>
    4: simultaneously with another task <software that handles formatting
    on the fly>
    In my opinion, the 3rd one is the best to this sentence, which means that we don't need to do any preparation for it.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409

    Re: "on the fly" vs "on-the-fly"

    It refers to doing something else while engaged in one's main activity.
    'on the fly' :while in motion or progress
    I was late for work, so I dashed to catch the train and just grabbed something for breakfast on the fly.

    . Computing : doing something during the running of a computer program without interrupting the run. Downloading in the background while you get on with some other work on the computer.

  1. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
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      • UK
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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,037

    Re: "on the fly" vs "on-the-fly"

    So, specifically, in this case, the software is continuing to download stuff (the word used in your text is 'content') while the browser is already beginning to display it/reproduce it in some partial way - such as starting with a less high-quality graphic, or starting to play the beginning of a sound clip without first finishing the download.



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