to be out of one's depth

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vil

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Dear teachers,

Reading the John Galsworthy ‘s “The apple tree” I came up against a difficulty concerning two new for me expressions “out of his depth” and “in his depth”.


I know the meaning of the idiom “out of one’s depth” namely “outside one’s understanding or competence” but I think that in this case (please see the brief excerpt bellow) the author used the literal meaning of the expression namely “being in water so deep that one might sink”.


Would you be kind enough to corroborate my choice?

Ashurst saw at once that Phil was not all right. He was splashing and struggling, out of his depth, perhaps a hundred yards away; suddenly he gave a cry, threw up his arms, and went down. Ashurst saw the girl launch herself towards him, and crying out: “Go back, Stella! Go back!” he dashed out. He had never swim so fast, and reached Halliday just as he was coming up a second time. It was a case of cramp, but to get him in was not difficult, for he did not struggle. The girl, who had stopped where Ashurst told her to, helped as soon as he was in his depth, and once on the beach they sat down one on each side of him to rub his limbs, while the little ones stood by with scared faces.

to be out of one’s depth = to be in water which is too deep to stand in, being in water so deep that one might sink
to be in one’s depth = to be able to stand on the bottom with one’s head above the surface of the water


Thank you in advance for your efforts.

Regards.

V.
 

jamiep

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I'd agree the meaning is literal here.
 

vil

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Hi jamiep,

Thank you for your backing.

Regards.

V.
 
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