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    #1

    out of one's depth

    Hi.

    - Questions about cable television are really out of our depth.
    - I was out of my depth in the advanced class, so I moved to the intermediate class.
    - He felt totally out of his depth in his new job.


    I think that the first sentence sounds awkward, because the subject "Questions" is not related to "our".

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: out of one's depth

    I agree. Do you have a question?

    If you're asking for substitutes, how about '...are beyond us'.?

    b

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: out of one's depth

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Hi.

    - Questions about cable television are really out of our depth.
    - I was out of my depth in the advanced class, so I moved to the intermediate class.
    - He felt totally out of his depth in his new job.


    I think that the first sentence sounds awkward, because the subject "Questions" is not related to "our".
    I don't agree about the first sentence; though I don't know the context.
    This could be a boss of a TV repair shop telling his staff not to offer advice on cable TV, because that wasn't part of their business. If an employee gives this advice, and it is wrong, the boss/owner could be sued.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: out of one's depth

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I don't agree about the first sentence; though I don't know the context.
    This could be a boss of a TV repair shop telling his staff not to offer advice on cable TV, because that wasn't part of their business. If an employee gives this advice, and it is wrong, the boss/owner could be sued.
    Maybe this is an NZ usage. In Br English only a person can be out of his or her depth. After all, the basic metaphor is about a swimmer who can't put his or her feet on the bottom. In the case of the TV repair shop, those questions would be 'outside our scope' or 'not the sort of thing we deal with'; or just 'don't ask us mate, try the place down the road'.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 26-Oct-2008 at 00:29. Reason: Expanded on TV ex.


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    #5

    Re: out of one's depth

    - I thought I was pretty good in math, but I'm out of my depth in that class.
    - I thought I was pretty good in math, but I'm beyond my depth in that class.
    - I thought I was pretty good in math, but that class is out of my depth.
    - I thought I was pretty good in math, but that class is beyond my depth.

    Do these all sound natural in New Zealand English? Do the first and second sentences sound natual in British English? What about in American English?

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    #6

    Re: out of one's depth

    I’m not a teacher.

    Hi daruma,

    It has been borne upon me that you are on the right track.

    out of one's depth: Information from Answers.com

    Reagrds,

    V.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: out of one's depth

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Maybe this is an NZ usage. In Br English only a person can be out of his or her depth. After all, the basic metaphor is about a swimmer who can't put his or her feet on the bottom. In the case of the TV repair shop, those questions would be 'outside our scope' or 'not the sort of thing we deal with'; or just 'don't ask us mate, try the place down the road'.

    b
    It could be NZE, but it happens quite a lot here in Aus. too
    If two people were clinging to each other almost drowning in the deep end of the pool, I think that one could claim to the other "We're out of our depth", and the other would most likely agree. I don't see why only one person at a time can be out of their depth.

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    #8

    Re: out of one's depth

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It could be NZE, but it happens quite a lot here in Aus. too
    If two people were clinging to each other almost drowning in the deep end of the pool, I think that one could claim to the other "We're out of our depth", and the other would most likely agree. I don't see why only one person at a time can be out of their depth.
    Antipodes schmantipodes, it's all the same to us Little Englanders.

    Yes, two people can be out of their depth; but they are, not the pool. Similarly, in Br English, any number of people can be out of their depth when trying to answer a question, but the question itself isn't.

    b

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    #9

    Re: out of one's depth

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    - I thought I was pretty good in math, but I'm out of my depth in that class.
    - I thought I was pretty good in math, but I'm beyond my depth in that class.
    - I thought I was pretty good in math, but that class is out of my depth.
    - I thought I was pretty good in math, but that class is beyond my depth.

    English?
    I am late to this thread, and I am not a professional teacher, but I do have some little experience with NZ English. I would say that the first option is the most natural for NZE. "Beyond" would more likely be used with "my grasp" than with " my depth". As for the question of whether a repair shop can be out of its depth, I think we would more likely say something like "I took it to the shop, but they were out of their depth". I don't think I've come across "out of (poss. pron.) depth" used of a corporate entity in NZE.

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