speed and up or down one's alley

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beppo

Senior Member
Italian
To all of you AE and BE natives : when do you use "my speed"(a person or thing that suits one's ability,inclinations or personality) and "up" or down one'a alley" ? Examples appreciated
 
  • To all of you AE and BE natives : when do you use "my speed"(a person or thing that suits one's ability,inclinations or personality) and "up" or down one'a alley" ? Examples appreciated



    Hello Beppo,

    I haven't heard "my speed" in the UK, but that could be because it is used by younger people. (I am quite ancient.) ;)


    We say that something/someone is "right up my street", rather than "up my alley".





    LRV
     

    savannah

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    In the US, you'll sometimes hear "that's not my speed" in situations where a person wants to refrain from doing something. So, if someone asks a non-drinker if she'd like a glass of wine, she might say, "No, thanks, that's not my speed." I've never really heard it used in the positive (i.e. "That's my speed" though I suppose it might be). That said, I don't hear it used very often. If I wanted to express that sentiment, I'd be far more likely to say "No, thanks, that's not really my cup of tea." (And I'm not yet 30, so I don't think that's too old-fashioned). Again, one doesn't often hear it used positively.

    "That's right up your alley" has a slightly different sense. I'd use it to encourage a friend to apply for a job I'd seen advertised: "Hey, Jane, you should put in an application for that position. It's right up your alley." Meaning that it seems to fit Jane's particular skills or interests.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Never heard "that's not my speed" - outside of a police station that is!:D

    As for "up your alley" it sounds normal to me "up your street" is certainly normal too, but I wasn't aware of alley being AE, perhaps it is but I'm sufficiently influenced not to know.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    Literal example of my speed:
    I'm given a huge race horse to ride (who is, by the way, no longer racing because he doesn't like to stop). I'm left traumatized, just by the thought of going head-first into low brambles or over a fence by a sudden stop from a horse who doesn't want to jump a fence. I get back to the barn, and they swap my horse out for a pony--one who doesn't really mind who gets on its back. I say, "This pony is more my speed!"

    As a metaphor:
    I spend the day scraping paint off the side of the house. I get sunburned and have big knots in my back muscles and callouses on my hands from the job. The next day I am treated to a boat ride on the river, and I say, "Wow! This is more my speed!"

    Literally up my alley
    Someone stops to ask the directions of someone else's house. I say, "Oh, I know her, she's just right up the street (or she's just right up the alley) from where I live!

    Metaphors using up my alley
    I am a championship horseman. I am on vacation and one of the activities we do is going to a dude ranch whereI am introduced to the aforementioned race horse. Because of my experience, I would say, "Well, howdy doody! I do believe this activity is right up my alley!"

    My friend is frustrated on the most efficient way to take paint off the side of a house. Because I paint houses for a living, she calls me. She figures I can give her some pointers, because painting houses is right up my alley.
     
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