A third of the way up/down

nagomi

Senior Member
Korean
What does "it's a third of the way up/down" mean?

I think "the way" seems to be the supposed entire length in the context, as in "we are only a third of the game through" meaning a third of the game is over and now we have two thirds more.

But I can't see how up or down can work here. I do know I need to give a context or actual example, but I guess this might not enough. I only saw the sentence "it's a third of the way up" as an example, just one sentence. It was a question about how one can indiciate a location on a screen while two people are watching it and one of them is telling the other the location.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, it means a distance of only one-third of the full distance. But the word to use would vary according to whether it referred to a length, width or height: along / across / up or down.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    All the way up = at the top.
    All the way down = at the bottom.

    The grand old Duke of York
    He had ten thousand men
    He marched them up to the top of the hill
    And he marched them down again.
    When they were up they were up
    And when they were down they were down
    But when they were only half way up
    They were neither up nor down.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    A third of the way up = One third of the distance from the bottom to the top
    A third of the way down = One third of the distance from the top to the bottom
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You should quote the post the phrase comes from, as this gives it the necessary context:
    If it is no longer visible on the screen, because the person has scrolled past it, then "higher" or "it's higher" or "you've gone past it" might be used. If it is visible on the screen, then you would probably say where it is with as much precision as possible, such as "it's about a third of the way down" or "it's at the top" (which does not necessarily mean it is the topmost row).

    You could say "it's in the top half" if the person is clearly looking at the bottom half.
    The person is looking at a screen (probably a computer monitor). This provides the field in which you can then use terms like "at the top", "on the left-hand side" and so on. You can also say how far, as a proportion of the screen width or height, something is from one of the edges. Using "down" means you are measuring from the top edge. Using "across" usually means you are measuring from the left-hand edge, but you can also use "from the top" or "from the left" instead, and you can also use "from the bottom", "from the right" and "up", to form such expressions as
    Half way down / half way up (these mean the same thing)​
    A third of the way down/two thirds of the way up (these also mean the same thing)​
    A quarter of the way from the left and half way down.​
    A third of the way from the right.​
    Half way down and a third of the way across.​
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top