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A lot of good that does.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by HSS, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    I imagine 'A lot of good that does' here means 'Of course, people in the right mind should feel sorry. But that's not enough.' Am I right?

    (Henry got on a bus, and his dog made trouble running around)
    Henry: I'm sorry.
    Bus driver: You're sorry! A lot of good that does.
    ('Henry Huggins' by Beverly Clearly)
     
  2. Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    Wisconsin
    English - United States
    I think you have the right idea. It means "Saying you're sorry doesn't fix the problem."

    By the way, we say "in his/her/their right mind," not "in the right mind."
     
  3. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Oooops!;)
     
  4. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 73)
    UK English
    In case you don't know, that is emphasised when you say this expression.
     
  5. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Yes, this is a good example of emphatic inversion (instead of saying 'that does a lot of good').
    The effect of the emphasis is to increase the irony or sarcasm of the statement.
    The true meaning is the opposite of the apparent meaning: the speaker means 'that does no real good at all'.

    This kind of inversion is normal, idiomatic English usage.
     

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