Posted by David FG on May 16, 2005
In Reply to: Chance would be a fine thing posted by Desmond Gaynor on May 15, 2005
: What is the origin of the phrase: "chance would be a fine thing"? Is it used only in the UK? Perhaps someone might also like to define the appropriate context for the phrase. As I understand it, the phrase is used where one is talking about some eventuality or set of circumstances one would like to see come about but which one thinks unlikely - usually because of lack of co-operation or goodwill on the part of someone else.
I don't know the origin, but I would use it in circumstances such as this:
Person A 'I wouldn't drive a Rolls Royce'.
Person B 'Chance would be a fine thing'.
That is, something has been ruled out which was extremely unlikely in the first place.
I hope that makes sense.