a few rough edges

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China and Chinese
I do not understand the last sentence in this pragraph:
A spirit of cooperation helped people build homes or form clubs like Rotary, Lions and ApexPension and medical funds were startedcontributing to the makings of a complex societyThere were a few rough edges but the perfect society (Utopia) has yet to be seen.

can anyone tell me what it means?
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Hello huzan,

    It is not intuitively logical, but it does make sense.

    There were a few rough edges = it was not perfect, but it was good

    This is followed by... "but the perfect society (Utopia) has yet to be seen" = however we shouldn't compare it with a theoretical ideal, Utopia, because such a society has never existed.

    Paraphrasing it again- The society wasn't perfect, but then no society has ever been perfect. It was generally quite good, despite some defects.


    China and Chinese
    thank you so much.
    I am praparing my presentation and met this problem. your explantaion is useful for me!!!!


    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Is it common to couple "smooth out"/ "clean up" with "rough edges", for example:

    He is a great footballer, but his game still has a few rough edges. The coach is going to introduce some special training programs to smooth/clean them out/up.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I looked at the in context link for confirmation - "smooth out" is commonly used in association with "rough edges".
    You'll also see "take off", "round off", "smooth off", and no doubt others.

    It would not make sense to me to use "clean them out" or "clean them up" to remedy "rough edges".


    Senior Member
    English - American
    Clean them up associated with rough edges is a slightly mixed metaphor. It is not so "mixed" that most people would disparage it. Smooth out (or iron out) might be used with "a few wrinkles", where "wrinkles" is used in the same sense as "rough edges" (minor problems).
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