a jack of all trades

Mack&Mack

Senior Member
Korea & Korean
Hello,

Is it possible to use a jack of all trades for an object such as asbestos? I only saw it refers to a person though.

Asbestos was a jack of all trades. It was used for more than three thousand different products in our lives.

What do you think? If not, do you have any suggestion for this?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • Cathy Rose

    Senior Member
    United States English
    "A jack of all trades" would be an idiom used only to refer to a person, but your meaning would be understood in your context. You might say, "Asbestos was ubiquitous." Ubiquitous means something that is everywhere. Hope that helps.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "A jack of all trades" would be an idiom used only to refer to a person, but your meaning would be understood in your context. You might say, "Asbestos was ubiquitous." Ubiquitous means something that is everywhere. Hope that helps.

    Ubiquitous means everywhere as you stated. Asbestos was used not only everywhere, but for almost every purpose.

    It was both ubiquitous and multi-talented. In the vernacular, an "all-purpose" product. (Not strictly "all", but that is how that phrase is used.)
     

    Physics Guy

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    "Asbestos was a jack of all trades. It was used for more than three thousand different products in our lives."

    That is excellent English writing. It features Asbestos as something used for a myriad of purposes, which is exactly your intent to say. You are personalizing Asbestos. That grabs reader interest. The paragraph might continue:

    "It protected our homes from fire. It insulated our attics to keep us warm. It sealed and caulked our windows. It . . . "

    . . . showing all the ways it helped us, just as a "jack of all trades" person might.
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    I honestly think it sounds quite odd. The meaning would be understood, but as Cathy Rose noted, it is only used to refer to human beings.

    I would suggest 'multi-purpose'.
     
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