I have a heck of a time

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  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    "I have a heck of a time" here means "I have a really fun time". Annette Funicello? That is 50 years old!

    In other sentences the same phrase can mean "I had difficulty". Usually that use is followed by a verb:

    I had a heck of a time fixing the car engine.
    I had a heck of a time hiding that hole.
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    "I have a heck of a time" here means "I have a really fun time". Annette Funicello? That is 50 years old!

    In other sentences the same phrase can mean "I had difficulty". Usually that use is followed by a verb:

    I had a heck of a time fixing the car engine.
    I had a heck of a time hiding that hole.
    How can one understand if it means a positive thing or not?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Context. 😊

    I had a heck of a time in Paris. I've never had such a lovely holiday.

    I had a heck of a time obtaining a new passport. They kept asking me to provide different documents.

    I had a heck of a time fixing the car. In the end I had to purchase the missing parts on e-bay.

    I had a heck of a time fixing the car. I adore old cars. I've never had so much fun in all my life.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    But how on earth is it possible to see this "I have a heck of a time" as positive and this "I had a heck of a time fixing the car engine." as negative?
    There are almost always clues. The other sentences. What you are talking about. Why you said this. Your voice intonation. Your facial expression. The situation.

    You can't figure it out from an isolated sentence in writing (with no voice inflection). Luckily, people rarely do that.
     
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