It’s still a pretty tall order, and we will be moving right along, so you will really need to stay on top of it

Omid9798

Member
Persian
Could someone help me with the text. I have 3 question.

1) What does "right" mean here? (what is the difference between move along and move right along?)
2) What does "stay on top of that" mean here?
3) What does "pretty" mean here? (Based on Longman Dictionary, "pretty" has two meanings: 1) fairly 2) very. How should I know which one it refers to?)


Text:
"The interest is clearly there. Eh, instead of any extra reading just now though, you could view some of the old introductory lectures. We have them on video. That would give you a better handle on the subject. It’s still a pretty tall order, and we will be moving right along, so you will really need to stay on top of it."

Thanks
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Is there any context?

    I imagine that "right" means immediately or quickly (no time for any extra reading), and "pretty" could mean anything from "fairly" to "very".
    To "stay on top of something" means not to fall behind in it.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    Basically, "it's a pretty tall order" means "it will not be easy". The exact degree of difficulty is not specified.
     

    Omid9798

    Member
    Persian
    Is there any context?

    I imagine that "right" means immediately or quickly (no time for any extra reading), and "pretty" could mean anything from "fairly" to "very".
    To "stay on top of something" means not to fall behind in it.
    Thanks. How could pretty mean both of them, "fairly" and "very"? How should I know which one it refers to, whenever I see "pretty" in a text or in a conversation?
     

    Omid9798

    Member
    Persian
    A bigger part of the conversation:

    "
    Student:
    Then maybe you could recommend some extra reading I can do to… catch up?

    Professor:
    Well, are you intending to study film as your main concentration?

    Student:
    No, no. I am just interested. I’m actually in marketing, but there seems to be a connection.

    Professor:
    Oh…well, in…in that case, if you’re taking the course just out of interest, I mean I still highly recommend signing up for the introductory courses at some point, but in the meantime, there is no harm I guess in trying to keep up with this class. The interest is clearly there. Eh, instead of any extra reading just now though, you could view some of the old introductory lectures. We have them on video. That would give you a better handle on the subject. It’s still a pretty tall order, and we will be moving right along, so you will really need to stay on top of it." (Toefl Exam - Listening Section)
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks. How could pretty mean both of them, "fairly" and "very"? How should I know which one it refers to, whenever I see "pretty" in a text or in a conversation?
    Words in English often have a variety of meanings and it is common to only be able to distinguish which one is meant by intonation (in speech) or knowing something about the situation or the speaker's character (in writing). The use of "still" suggests that "pretty" is used to mitigate rather than emphasise "tall order", but it is very difficult to say for certain.
     
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