Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Stone's Throw Away

A stone's throwaway in Brooklyn at just A STONE'S THROW AWAY.
I took a picture of this paper's front-page when I noticed the idiom on it. Do you know what A STONE'S THROW AWAY means? Basically, if something is A STONE'S THROW AWAY, it means it is not very far. For example, you can say "There's a nice park just A STONE'S THROW AWAY from my house." You're basically saying that there's a park not very far from your house.

The exact distance, of course, is relative and depends on what you consider close or near. In other words, you can say that New Jersey is just A STONE'S THROW AWAY from Manhattan so you may consider living there while you work or go to school in Manhattan. However, if you live in New York, you probably won't go to New Jersey to buy groceries; it's too far. You'd probably go to a store that's just A STONE'S THROW AWAY from your home or your job. You get the picture, right?
[GET THE PICTURE - understand]

This news article is actually about cobblestones in one area of Brooklyn that are about to be removed and replaced with newer, machine-made stones. The idiom is used as a PUN (a play on words). Newspapers often use PUNS to be clever and to catch readers' attention. A PUN works well when you can get at least a couple of meanings from it. For this one, there's the literal meaning--the stones are being thrown away. Incidentally, the word "throwaway" here is actually used as a noun in this headline (a stone's throwaway or the throwaway of a stone). There's also the idiomatic meaning--some of the original hand-cut cobblestones will be reused with the newer, laser-cut stones. So we can say that some of the original cobblestones will just be A STONE'S THROW AWAY from their original location. What do you think? Is it clever? 
[COBBLESTONES - rounded stones that were used to pave streets]

If you look at the sentences in small type above the photo, you'll see two phrases in green that is actually another good expression to learn. OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW is something that you say when you're getting rid of something old and replacing it with something new--in this case, the stones. 
[GET RID OF - throw away; discard]

For example:
     1. It's time to get rid of these old, smelly sneakers. It's OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW.
     2. She left her husband for a younger man. I guess it's OUT WITH THE OLD, and IN WITH THE NEW.

The next time you get rid of your old mattress, old bag, old computer, et al, and replace it with a new one, you can say, OUT WITH THE OLD, and IN WITH THE NEW.

To practice using A STONE'S THROW AWAY, you can tell us about a favorite place that is not too far from your home here in New York or in your home country. Is there a beautiful beach, a trendy area, a peaceful park, or an exciting neighborhood A STONE'S THROW AWAY from your house?

Share your sentences with us here, on NYLC's page on Facebook, or @NYLangCenter on Twitter. Until next time. :-)

-- Joe Yu, ESL instructor

No comments:

Post a Comment