As good as it gets

  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Dec said:
    Does anybody knows what does it mean "as good as it gets" ?
    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.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    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!
     

    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 :)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    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!"
    .
     

    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.
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    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.
    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.
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    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
     

    suzi br

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