As good as it gets

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Dec, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. Dec New Member

    Paris, France
    Poland/Polish
    Does anybody knows what does it mean "as good as it gets" ?
     
  2. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Hello, Dec. Welcome to the forums. :)

    Context would help, but in general, "this is as good as it gets" means "it's not going to get any better than this."

    It can be positive, negative, or neutral - depending on the context.
     
  3. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Cheshire
    English / England
    This is a phrase that I use in a fairly serious way to remind myself that I am very lucky and have a good life - but it is easy to use the same phrase in a sardonic or ironic way too!
     
  4. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Hello,
    In the movie"As Good As It Gets". The main character, who suffers from OCD ( a mental disease ) and is always unhappy about everything in his life, says "What if this is as good as it gets?" ( meaning, I think, what if this is how life is? what if it won't get any better even if nothing seems to suit you and you're complaining all the time? ) to all the patients waiting to get inside the doctor's room ( and to himself too, I suppose ).
    So of couse elroy and suzi br are both more than correct, I just thought maybe this example can make you understand the meaning better :)
     
  5. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I'd like to stress that "this is as good as it gets" is mostly a positive and unironic expression, at least in my experience. "What if this is as good as it gets" is a movie line referring ironically to the common expression.

    You and your buddy are shivering over a kerosene space heater in a small tent pitched on a frozen lake. Each of you is sitting on a milk crate, staring into a hole you've augered into the ice, staring at a motionless little bobber. You have to tuck the bait in your lower lip to keep it from freezing, and set the beers on top of the aladdin heater for the same reason. In the stiff northerly wind, the walls and ceiling of the tent are whop-whop-whopping like a spastic jellyfish about to rocket off and leave you exposed to the elements.

    But a bad day fishing is better than a good day doing anything else, and I sincerely hope you know this from experience. If not, remedy that situation this instant, and take a buddy along. At one point one of you will turn to the other and say, "man, it just doesn't get any better than this!"
    .
     
  6. Dec New Member

    Paris, France
    Poland/Polish
    Thanks everyone who has answered my question. You were very helpful.
     
  7. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    Is it a set phrase? Or can I replace "good" with anything else to mean similar meaning. Like if I replace "good" with "well" in this sentence "He played as well as it gets", does it mean that he played his best.
     
  8. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
    Swedish
    Sounds odd. Maybe "His playing was as good as it gets." If someone said that I think it could actually mean both that he played the best he could, but also that he played better than anybody else could, depending on context.
     
  9. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    Well, actually I wanted to know if I could replace "good" with anything else here in this situation?
     
  10. Smauler Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk, England
    British English
    No. Not if you want to retain the meaning.

    You could say this is as wonderful, fabulous, entrancing, astonishing as is gets, but they don't mean the same thing.
     
  11. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
    Swedish
    I think you can. But in that case I'd expect something other than "good"/"well". Maybe something like "His punch (boxing) was as hard as it gets."

    edit> Cross-post. I agree with Smauler
     
  12. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    So what if I hear "This is as wonderful as it get", will I get it that it means "This is the most wonderful"?
     
  13. Smauler Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk, England
    British English
    Literally, yes. If someone actually said that, you'd have to detect the sarcasm yourself. I very much doubt I'd use that phrase unless in a foreign jail.
     
  14. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    What is the sarcasm here?
     
  15. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Cheshire
    English / England
    No you cannot.
    If you start 'he played as well as.... ' you have to finish with 'he could' or 'everyone else', for example.
     

Share This Page

Loading...