A length of rope

jemagamba

Senior Member
Spanish - Mexico
Hi everybody!

I heard this dialogue on a TV show:

"Lenny Fring had to have cheesecloth, a length of rope, and a copy of Gray's Anatomy."

What's "a length of rope"?

Is this set phrase referring to the standard length of a rope (if there is such a standard)? Or is "length" a unit of measurement itself?

Thanks in advance.

 
  • Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    "A length of" is somewhat like a counter for long thin things that are cut to a size from a larger source, or available in various lengths. A length of wood, a length or rope, a length of thread. The actual length is unspecific, but the implication would be that is of a useful length, suitable for the material's usual purpose.
     

    inhighspeed

    New Member
    English - U.S.
    Saying a length of rope is nearly equivalent to saying a piece of rope but not exactly. "Piece" would certainly be more common, and "length" could really only be used when it is more or less a definite size (of fabric, string, or as in this case, rope) that is required. Contrary to the above, however, I would not say "length of wood."
     

    SuperScuffer

    Senior Member
    English - GB
    I just wanted to point out that there is a certain comedic value to using the phrase "length of rope" here. It doesn't specify how long the rope is, what sort of rope it is, or what use it is going to be put to, just a "length of rope". Its up to your own imagination to wonder what Lenny Fring is going to do with that rope and any translation would need to have that same amusement value.
     

    horsewishr

    Senior Member
    English (Generic Midwest Variety)
    Saying a length of rope is nearly equivalent to saying a piece of rope but not exactly. "Piece" would certainly be more common, and "length" could really only be used when it is more or less a definite size (of fabric, string, or as in this case, rope) that is required. Contrary to the above, however, I would not say "length of wood."
    I would disagree. To me, a “piece” of rope would be small and useless, whereas a length of rope would be useable. That said, I’d probably just to say “I need some rope.”
     

    boroman

    Senior Member
    Español - España
    Según el contexto, a Lenny Fring le juzga por su aspecto exterior. Al atribuirle esas cosas, debe tener alguna peculiaridad física.
     

    jilar

    Senior Member
    Español
    En mi opinión tienes la solución en el propio diccionario WR.
    length - English-Spanish Dictionary - WordReference.com

    La cuarta entrada.

    Para entender por qué ese personaje dice eso de Lenny habría que conocer a este.
    A lo mejor lo dice porque Lenny es aficionado a la navegación y, por tanto, uno de sus pasatiempos es practicar y aprender nudos.
    O cualquier otra razón que explique esa necesidad, según quien habla, de tener un trozo de cuerda.

    P. D. En escalada se usa el concepto "largo de cuerda", pero no creo que aquí sea esto.
    El "largo de cuerda" sería la longitud de la cuerda que se use para escalar. Si llevamos una cuerda de 60 metros, al menos necesitamos hacer 10 largos (pitch en inglés, si no me falla la memoria) para completar una vía de 600 metros.
    Si la cuerda mide 50 metros, necesitamos al menos hacer 12 largos para completar los 600 metros.

    Se tiende a aprovechar todo el largo de la cuerda, pero esto no siempre es posible o recomendable. A veces es preferible quedarse antes, por ejemplo subir solo 40 metros, en vez de toda la extensión que permiten los 60 de la cuerda.
     
    Last edited:

    inhighspeed

    New Member
    English - U.S.
    I would disagree. To me, a “piece” of rope would be small and useless, whereas a length of rope would be useable. That said, I’d probably just to say “I need some rope.”
    When you say useable, that's basically what "a length of rope is ... when it is more or less a definite size that is required" means, i.e., what I said. In any event, to say "a length of" anything could be considered a bit elevated, used in directions, or in a commercial setting, and it would be more common to just say "I need a piece of rope that is 3 feet long."
     
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