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"people go days on end with nothing..." Options
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 6:57:05 AM

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This is from "Ten Little Indians" by Agatha Christie:

"... I don't want any food. People go
days on end with nothing
sometimes when they're on a diet."


I can't disentangle the underlined part, to me it looks like there may be misprints in it... Is it really a mix of typos, or does it make sense as it is?

From the context I understand the meaning is that sometimes people spend days without eating anything when they are on a diet, but I would appreciate if someone could help me understand the structure of this sentence.

Thanks a lot!
Kirill
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 8:12:48 AM

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Just a thought - maybe it should be "ended with nothing"?

People go days on ended with nothing (meaning "days ended without any food having been eaten")... ??
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 8:45:54 AM

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Location: Dzerzhinskiy, Moskovskaya, Russia
Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
People go days on ended with nothing (meaning "days ended without any food having been eaten")... ??


http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/days+on+end



აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 8:53:46 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Wow, thank you!
Sorry, I didn't think it was an idiom, otherwise I'd have looked it up myself. Sounded unlikely to me for some reason.

Thank you for your help!
Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 11:05:10 AM

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"Day on end" means a seemingly endless number of days in a row. People had nothing to eat for many days in a row.
NKM
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 12:04:47 PM

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It's a very common idiom.

Often it's "for days on end".

Also: "hours/weeks/months on end"; possibly even "years on end".

thar
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 12:24:37 PM

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It might help if you think of each day as a block of time. Each day has an end. But if the next day is 'on' it,there is no gap - the situation continues without a break.


These are cubes so they have no ends. But imagine them longer and thinner. Each has two ends. Then they can
be piled end on end.

It needn't be a block of time.
A road can go on for miles on end.
A letter can go on for pages on end.

Anything that has length has ends (ie a discrete measurement - a day, a year, a mile, a page) and can have another on it, continuing without a break, on and on...
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 12:57:21 PM

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Joined: 10/13/2015
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Location: Dzerzhinskiy, Moskovskaya, Russia
thar wrote:
Anything that has length has ends (ie a discrete measurement - a day, a year, a mile, a page) and can have another on it, continuing without a break, on and on...

That was elucidating. Thank you!



აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Gabriel82
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2017 1:32:07 PM

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Joined: 7/22/2017
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Neurons: 65,633
Location: Wichita Falls, Texas, United States
Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
This is from "Ten Little Indians" by Agatha Christie:

"... I don't want any food. People go
days on end with nothing
sometimes when they're on a diet."


I can't disentangle the underlined part, to me it looks like there may be misprints in it... Is it really a mix of typos, or does it make sense as it is?

From the context I understand the meaning is that sometimes people spend days without eating anything when they are on a diet, but I would appreciate if someone could help me understand the structure of this sentence.

Thanks a lot!
Kirill


The idiomatic phrase "days on end" is like saying "day after day"; however, the sentence you provided might have made more sense to you had it possessed different punctuation such as:

"I don't want any food: people go days on end with nothing sometimes when they're on a diet" or

"I don't want any food; people go days on end with nothing sometimes when they're on a diet."

In both cases, the next sentence really just explains the previous one more--so given that fact, it could have possessed a colon to indicate an explanation to come or a semicolon to indicate the next sentence was going to be very similar/closely related. ;)

Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 4:31:21 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 268
Neurons: 1,443
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Thank you very much, everybody, this is most educating!

I understand the idiom now. Very interesting stuff.
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