Posted by Brian from Shawnee on September 10, 2003
In Reply to: Phrases: a bit of a posted by GPP on September 10, 2003
: : : : 1."There was no school for 40 days becasue of the SARS and I have to make up time."
: : : : (How to make up time?)
: : : : 2.
: : : : "Cool facts about Mars
: : : : A bit of a dry year: The last time it rained on Mars was about 3 billion years ago.
: : : : You'd have more time on Mars: ...."
: : : : (Is "A bit of a" a fixed saying? Do you have any examples?)
: : : : 3.(it's a joke; could you explain "pressing down with his thumb."?)
: : : : Mrs Fleshman goes to the butcher's shop to buy a chicken for Sunday lunch. The butcher has only one small chicken left and he puts it on the scale.
: : : : "Three pounds," he says.
: : : : "That's much too small; don't you have anything bigger?" Mrs Fleshman asks.
: : : : He pretends to look around for another one, and then puts the same chicken back on the scale, pressing down with his thumb.
: : : : "Three and a half pounds," he says.
: : : : "That looks better," says Mrs Fleshman. "I'll take them both."
: : : : Great thanks to your attention!
: : : In #3, the butcher is standing behind a counter, and has a spring-type scale rather than a balance scale; the weight will probably display to the butcher and simultaneously to his customer, but the customer can't see the butcher pressing down slightly on the scale with his thumb to make the weight of the chicken appear to be more. Then since Mrs. Fleshman wants yet a larger chicken, she asks for both, not realizing it's the same chicken.
: : #1: One 'makes use' of time by doing things, useful or not, in the time available. Here, I 'lost' 40 days because of the SARS, and now have to 'make it up' by doing the past 40 days' worth of chores that didn't get done.
: : #2: 'A bit of' means 'a little bit of', not very much. The comment is supposed to be humorous.
: As an example that isn't supposed to be wry, you could idiomatically say "I have a bit of a headache, but I'm well enough to take my exams now."
You could say the butcher is in a bit of a pickle.