not <all> it’s cracked up to be

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
something is not all/everything it’s cracked up to be
used to say that something is not as good as people say it is:
I thought the film was OK, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Longman dictionary

Explain please the meaning of 'all', what it refers to and what part of speech it is. Thank you.
 
  • Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hello Vic, I think it is going to be a fruitless task trying to dissect this phrase grammatically. "Not all it's cracked up to be" is an invariable idiom. No other version or variation is possible (other than past tense "was" for "is", or "they're" + corresponding plural for "it's"), therefore it's not necessary to understand how it hangs together grammatically.
     
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    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thank you for the replies.

    I think "all" is a predeterminer here. See: all - definition of all in English from the Oxford dictionary

    It is not everything that people are saying about it.
    But if "everything" is a pronoun, shouldn't "all" be a pronoun too here? Because it functions in the same way, right?
    Also, we can insert the conjunction "that" here (can we?): "but it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be", which seems to show the 'all' is a pronoun...:confused:
    it's not necessary to understand how it hangs together grammatically.
    But we could guess... E.g. Could it be an adverb at all, meaning "completely"?
     
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    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Yes, the most likely interpretation for 'all' is as a pronoun. To classify it as determiner you'd need a noun following it.

    The basic idea of the phrase is: "It is not what it is said to be."
    You can modify and add nuances in many ways but the core meaning remains unchanged.
    It's not entirely/completely what it's said/claimed/thought/cracked up to be.
    It's not all that it's said/claimed/thought/cracked up to be. -> the fact that you use 'that' instead of 'what' may hint its function as noun, i.e. a pronoun!?? (but I'm not too sure about that, actually...)
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Yes, it is an idiom, of course, but it consists of ten words, I can explain the nine, so there must be an explanation for the last:)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    What ten words? And which one do you need an explanation for? My explanations are often wrong, but I always have an explanation.:rolleyes:
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I think this movie rates a 65, but it is "cracked up to be" a 100 by reviewers.

    Then "all(everything) it is cracked up to be" means 100.

    I think it is a 65, not 100, so I think it is "not all it is cracked up to be", because 65 is not all of 100.

    If it is a common saying, but is read literally with all words in their normal meaning, is it an "idiom"?
     
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