an easy act to follow

Discussion in 'English Only' started by joh2001smile, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. joh2001smile Senior Member

    Beijing, China
    Chinese
    Hi,
    What does that mean? What does the word act mean here?

    Do you think Bill Clinton will be an asset or a liability to Hillary's presidential campaign?
    Bush will be an easy act to follow. Bill's approval rating is STILL higher than Chimp's.
     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This expression is more often used in the form of:
    Dave will not be an easy act to follow.
    Dave is clearly very good at whatever it is. It will be difficult for whoever comes along next to be as good, or to impress as much.

    In this particular case, the writer says that Bush will be an easy act to follow - meaning that taking into account Bush's current approval rating it will not be very difficult to do better.
     
  3. Trinibeens

    Trinibeens Senior Member

    NYC
    U.S. English
    In the entertainment field, an entertainer performs an 'act' on the stage. (The act could be comedy, dance, song, etc.) If the act is really good, one would say, "That's a hard act to follow", meaning the first act was so good, that by comparison any act that follows will seem terrible.

    Idiomatically, in this context, it means Bush has done a terrible job as President, so any successor will look good in comparison.
     
  4. joh2001smile Senior Member

    Beijing, China
    Chinese
    I see, the word act is derived from theatrical performance, thank you very much. Another question, does the word follow mean imitate, or imply to imitate?
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In this context, follow simply means come after.
     
  6. joh2001smile Senior Member

    Beijing, China
    Chinese
    panjandrum,
    Thank you, I got it.
     
  7. anothersmith Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English, U.S.
    No, it means to follow only in the temporal sense.
     

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