not <all> smooth sailing

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Natsuna, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. Natsuna

    Natsuna Senior Member

    Japanese / 日本語
  2. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    No. It means that some, but not all, of the work went smoothly. Your version says that none of the work went smoothly.
     
  3. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    I couldn't say that Natsuna's version says that none of the work went smoothly.

    The "at all" tag is an idiom, and does mean the "all" in B), for me.

    A) Working there was not smooth sailing at all.
    B) Working there was not all smooth sailing. (OP)
     
  4. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with RM1, more or less :).

    1. Working there was not all smooth sailing.
    2. Working there was not smooth sailing at all.

    1. "not all" means there were some rough patches; it wasn't invariably smooth.
    2. "not smooth at all" means it was definitely not smooth - in fact it was pretty rough.
     
  5. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I understand the previous answers. In my opinion the true meaning depends on context and tone of voice.

    Examples

    1. We had a wonderful marriage, it wasn't all smooth sailing but looking back, the good parts far outweighed the bad.

    2.
    "John, you had an incredibly well-paid job. You must have lived the life of Riley."
    "Hmm ... That's as may be, I could never relax even at week ends. A job like that isn't all smooth sailing.
     
  6. Natsuna

    Natsuna Senior Member

    Japanese / 日本語
    Thanks a lot for the responses, all.
     

Share This Page

Loading...