in the grand scheme of things?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ddubug, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. ddubug Senior Member

    Dictionary says this mean 'insignificant'.

    If so, how can I understand this sentence?

    <The only other option is to stay where you are, but it will only put us behind in the grand scheme of things.>

    it will only put us behind insignificant things?
    It sounds strange....
    Please help me to get clearer picture.
  2. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    If this is what your dictionary says, you may want to get another dictionary.

    "In the grand scheme of things" means "when the results of all actions are taken into account", or "when all the different pieces are considered as a unified whole."
  3. tinlizzy

    tinlizzy Senior Member

    USA - English
    The grand scheme of things is the sum of all the parts to achieve a goal.

    I think it's difficult to explain the meaning in the sample sentence because this phrase often deals with metaphysical objectives not everyday problems.

    Is there more to that sentence?
  4. JohnYoung New Member

    English & Mandarin
    It is context related; sometimes the simplest way to explain it is "everything considered."
  5. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    You didn't give us the required source and context, Ddubug; what would help us help you.
  6. morzh

    morzh Banned

    He may have misquote the dictionary. The dictionaries do indeed use the word "insignificant" but they use it in sentences.


    (From the -a very good dictionary, I think)

    if you say that in the grand scheme of things something is not important, you mean that it is not important when compared to much more serious things.
    In the grand scheme of things, whether another actress has her navel pierced is not really that significant.
  7. JunJiBoy

    JunJiBoy Senior Member

    "In the grand scheme of things" is an idiom. It means that when you put things into perspective, taking EVERYTHING else into account, sometimes what has previously been considered significant isn't quite, well, significant.
    It's a variation from "in the scheme of things", meaning in light of how things – all things – generally work. In the religious sense, the scheme is seen as God's scheme, his great plan for everything. Otherwise it's just an overview of the overall situation. In other words, it's the big picture.
    In the scheme of things, for example, humans are insignificant. Here, humans are being discussed with respect to all species and in terms of the cosmos as a whole. After all, we are just a small part of what's going on with Mother Nature on Earth. Indeed, the Earth itself is tiny in the scheme of things, in that it's a small piece of rock hurtling in the vast solar system, which itself is in fact a tiny system in the galaxy among innumerous other galaxies in the whole universe...
    There are other variations from "in the scheme of things" including "in the greater scheme of things", "in the overall scheme of things" and of course "in the grand scheme of things". Here are media examples to give you a chance to see each one of these variations in action.

Share This Page