a little bit too much absinthe

GandalfMB

Senior Member
Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
Hello,
Does "My granddad had a little bit too much absinthe, and he threw me out of the window" sound okay? Or perhaps "My granddad had a little too much/a bit too much absinthe and he threw me out of the window" are better?

Thank you.
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Does "My granddad had a little bit too much absinthe, and he threw me out of the window" sound okay?
    No, it sounds like you had a horrible childhood. However, grammatically and idiomatically it is normal. (You could lose the "of"...)

    "My granddad had a bit too much absinthe - same as "a little bit" - it sounds as if he did not intend to get into that state or, at least, you did not think he did.
    "My granddad had a little too much/a bit too much absinthe - indicates he was a regular absinthe drinker - it implies "than he usually drank."
     

    GandalfMB

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
    How do "My granddad had a little too much absinthe..." and "My granddad had a bit too much absinthe" imply that he was a regular drinker? I am asking out of curiosity. Hmm...
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I'm looking at this again when I am a bit more awake. To analyse it more deeply, there are two considerations: (i) euphemism (ii) culture.

    I assumed that, in the story, you have established that your grandfather is not from an English speaking culture, and you intended to say "My grandfather, like most men of his age, would have a glass of absinthe (in the afternoon/evening) however, on one occasion, he had obviously had a lot more, and was drunk..."

    It is the "[little] bit" (also in the case of liquids, "drop") : As a broad interpretation "a little bit too much" is often used as an ironic euphemism for "a lot of/much too much".

    A: "Oh... I feel awful, I may have had a bit too much of that cake..."
    B: "A bit too much? You had all of it!"
    A: "I left you a slice..."

    A: "Throw me that hammer, I need to flatten this nail."
    [B throws the hammer which flies high over the head of A and breaks a window.]
    A: "I think you might have thrown that a little bit too hard."

    Added to this, amongst native speakers, absinthe has a historical (and probably current) reputation of being a powerful drink and ruinous to health - there were some countries who banned it.

    "My granddad had a bit too much absinthe" has the implication "More than the normal amount." The listener (reader = me) will immediately think "What is the normal amount? Absinthe!? No wonder he was drunk... if he drank "too much" how much did he usually drink?" There is also a strong chance of the implication that nobody but a hardened drinker would touch absinthe.

    This then detracts from the main point of the story in which you were defensestrated. (That's the first time I've used that word in a serious manner.)

    In speech, the actual meaning of "My granddad had a little bit too much absinthe" can be made obvious; in writing you need to be careful in your phrasing that the correct meaning comes across.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top