Posted by R. Berg on October 08, 2004
In Reply to: On prescription posted by Miri Barak on October 07, 2004
: : : : : Hello
: : : : : Context:
: : : : : "The book is dedicated to people under stress who may have low energy or *only so much to give*.
: : : : : My difficulty is with "only so much to give. Does she mean - that they have a limited energy to give? or something else?
: : : : : 2. in this context:
: : : : : "It'not your fault if you follow doctor's orders and stil feel drained. You just need a more complete *prescription*. I'll give it to you here".
: : : : : My question: can I use the word prescription here in the meaning of *solution* or stay with the conventinal meaning?
: : : : : Thank you so much
: : : : Hello, Miri! In the first part, I think you are safe to say that because of stress the person will have a low level of participation and can only contribute so much or, as you say, has "only so much to give." For the second part, sometimes a person needs more than a doctor's traditional 'prescription' of medicine. Sometimes prescribed medicine needs to be combined with a change in attitude or lifestyle or point of view.
: : : : I hope this helps!
: : : "Only so much." "So" is often used as a kind of indefinite quantifier. I can walk only "so far" before I poop out. I can only do "so much" of the housework before I have to sit down. I can only produce "so many" test questions before my imagination dries up. I have only "so much" to give (or do or provide or anything else) before I run out of energy. "So much" is an indefinite, but definitely limited, quantity.
: : : SR is right, of course, about prescription, as well as for the problem of the first paragraph. If the doctor prescribes Xanax, he'll write that down on a prescription form, so the patient can take it to someone else (like a pharmacist) as evidence that it was prescribed by a legitimate doctor. If the doctor prescribes bed rest, or a less stressful lifestyle, he probably won't write it down--even though "prescribe" implies writing. SS
: : In the UK, common pharmaceuticals - aspirin and paracetamol - are available from a chemist (US drug store) over the counter. More powerful drugs are only available on prescription. The doctor writes out a prescription, which the patient takes to the chemist (formally a pharmacist) who will dispense the cream, tablets or whatever may be required. Under the National Health Service, the patient pays a fixed charge for each prescription, regardless of the cost of the medicine, although many people are excused the charges.
: Thanks to all of you for your helpful answers
Miri, the "prescription" in your second excerpt may be a literal prescription for medication, written on a doctor's prescription pad, or it may be something more general: a prescription in the sense of a recommendation. What kind of recommendation? Oh, perhaps the patient needs more sleep or a change of scene or a support group, for example. The excerpt doesn't show which kind of prescription is meant.