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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Please explain    

Please explain


Please explain
Hi Everyone.
I �ve got a question about expression I found in one of the Student Books for upper -intermediate course. The sentence goes like this: " He �s a bit on the thin side". What does it actually mean? Thanks for help

19 Jan 2010      


He �s a bit slim/underwight.

You can just as well use this expression in: "He �s a bit on the fat side". Or "He is a bit on the geek side".

19 Jan 2010     


Hi, I am sorry Lana but it doesn �t actually mean this . It is an expression that means that this person �s theory or opinion is weak compared to others � fat opinion or strong theory or opinion.

19 Jan 2010     


I agree with Lana.
You could say his argument is a bit on the thin side. I don �t think one would ever say �fat argument � in English.
In the given sentence he �s on the thin side, it means he is underweight.

19 Jan 2010     


Without knowing the broader context the most likely interpretation relates to weight as pointed out by Lana.  When �he �s a bit on the thin side � then he is underweight or very thin. 
If something is on the thin side (i.e. it �s a bit on the thin side) then usually that thing is lacking in something e.g. a business document that is expected to be lengthier. 
In Tarakawed �s example, if there was a previous reference to the argument/theory/opinion, we could say �he is (as in his argument/opinion/theory is) a bit on the thin side �  as Apodo stated.
What is the rest of the context Dulek?

19 Jan 2010     


Thank you all. The context is about appearance so I think that you �re right it means he �s underweight, just like myself.

20 Jan 2010     

United States

A little more explanation:
Here in the US, this expression is usually used as an understatement. Literally, it means that the person is just a little thin, because the "side" in the expression refers to one side of average on a scale. So, "a bit on the thin side" would mean a little less than average weight. However, we almost always use it as an exaggeration, so when we say, "He �s a bit on the thin side," it usually means that he �s noticeably underweight.

21 Jan 2010