in seconds flat

belissimo

Senior Member
Russian
Hello everybody,
"But the selection committee, who were trained to identify brilliant musicians in seconds flat, knew instantly that she was the best of all people they'd heard that day"
Please, help with the interpretation of this phrase.
Thanks
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    The expression usually includes a number: in two seconds flat = in exactly two seconds.

    "In seconds flat" is an uncommon way of saying in no more than a few seconds. It is an emphatic way of telling the reader or listener that the identification was made very quickly.
     

    moonglade

    Member
    English - American
    Thanks. So it means that they are trained to make a decision quickly and exactly.
    Remember, "exactly" would refer to the timing of the decision, not the making of a decision.

    "They can make a decision in seconds flat" = They can make a decision in exactly seconds (not: They can make an exact decision in seconds).

    Hope that makes sense.
     
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