A rule of thumb

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Lucretia

Senior Member
Russian
Hello,
I’ve seen this collocation in this forum a few times. Here is its definition.
Method or procedure based on experience and practice.
Here are some examples.
1. As a rule of thumb, drill every point taught at least three times: in the lesson in which it is introduced; in the next lesson; in a later lesson.
2. Some general rules of thumb were used in the selection of test sentences.
3. As a rule of thumb, Dijon mustard ought to be presented with a pot au feu or potee.

Still I remain in the dusk.
What could I substitute for them?
Thank you.
 
  • liond10

    Member
    English, USA
    As far as I know, the term "rule of thumb" originates from its use in carpentry/construction. You can use the small part of your thumb to measure one inch instead of using a ruler.

    It can be substituted with "as a general rule...," "it is common knowledge that...," or "it is universally known that... (dijon mustard ought to be presented...). Hope this helps!
     

    TLGeorge

    Member
    English, UK
    A rule of thumb is an inaccurate rule, which has not necessarily been proven. It could also just be a day-to-day 'theory' that is widely accepted, perhaps based on experience.

    For example, whenever I am converting €uros to British Pounds in my head, I use the rule of thumb of multiplying € by 2/3. However, as we all know, currency values change all the time.

    Some synonyms in the sentences given:

    1) Based on experience, drill every point....
    2) In order to select test sentences, some estimates based on past experience were used.
    3) It's generally accepted that Dijon mustard ought to be presented with a pot au feo or potee.

    To be honest, there is no direct translation. As a native speaker, I can just think how I might say it using different words and phrases. It is just one of those things that you get used to using in the context of the foreign language you are learning.
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    Collins English Dictionary.
    rule of thumb n a rough and practical approach, based on experience, rather than a scientific or precise one based on theory.

    A rule of thumb is a general rule based on experience.

    .,,
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    You requested some possible substitutions:

    1.
    In general, you should drill every point taught at least three times: in the lesson in which it is introduced; in the next lesson; in a later lesson.
    2. Some basic guidelines were used in the selection of test sentences.
    3. Usually, Dijon mustard ought to be presented with a pot au feu or potee.

    To me, by the way, the phrase "general rule of thumb" in the original #2 sounds redundant. A rule of thumb is general anyway.
     
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