t-minus and counting

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ana Castro, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. Ana Castro

    Ana Castro Senior Member

    Nova Friburgo, RJ
    portuguese Brazil
    Hi everyone,

    Could you tell me if I understood the meaning of this expression in the paragraph below?

    "He shook his head and waited patiently for Maura. He glanced at the clock. Seven twenty-five. T-minus thirty-five minutes and counting. Maura seemed to be taking her time in the bathroom"

    Does it mean that he had started a count down to the time she was spending in the bathroom and she had already spent thirty-five minutes there?

    thanks in advance
  2. Omnieiunium New Member

    English, Canada

    T-minus is a countdown to something. It is most typically heard during a rocket launch, "T-minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, LIFT OFF!!" In the example you provided, it does not relate to the time that Maura was in the bathroom, but instead to the fact that it is 35 minutes before 8 o'clock. In five minutes, he could say "T-minus 30 minutes and counting" etc... Another example was I was waiting for a bus to arrive at 11.00 and it was 10.55, I could say "T-minus 5 minutes in counting."

    Hope that clears it up.
  3. Kenneth Garland Senior Member

    Portishead, UK
    UK, English
    Yes, he's started a count-down. But it means that there is 35 minutes before some event (are they about to go out for the evening?). I guess they are going out at 8 o'clock (7.25 is 8.00 - 35 minutes).

    When a rocket is launched, the time that it is due to launch is 'T'. Before that time, the period is 'minus'; after it, the period is 'plus'.

  4. Hi Ana,

    I think there was an engagement at 8 o/clock, as we are told the time was seven twenty-five - 35 minutes before 8 o/clock.

    So he was counting down from the target time of 8 o/clock. Maura would have to get a move on. We don't know how long she had been in the bathroom.

  5. Omnieiunium New Member

    English, Canada
    Thanks, never really knew that :) Learn something new every day. Also, I knew I forgot something when I tried to explain it. It's my first time but I've followd these forums for a while so I'll get better.
  6. Kenneth Garland Senior Member

    Portishead, UK
    UK, English
    I hadn't seen your post when I wrote mine, omnieiunium, otherwise I would have welcomed you to the WR forum! :) I've only just become a senior member today, so you won't have long to catch up!

    In military parlance, you also hear of H-hour and D-day, which also have 'minus' and 'plus' counts.
  7. Ana Castro

    Ana Castro Senior Member

    Nova Friburgo, RJ
    portuguese Brazil
    Thanks to everyone for the prompt response.
    You are right, they have an appointment at 8:00.
    The paragraph is crystal clear now.

  8. Yes, welcome to WR forum Omnieunium. :)

    And congratulations on becoming a senior member Kenneth! :cool: Feels good, doesn't it?

    I contribute to another forum ( :eek: :eek: ) occasionally and was recently promoted from the status of "newbie" to "junior member".

    There's no place like WR though!

  9. Kenneth Garland Senior Member

    Portishead, UK
    UK, English
    Feels good? :eek: I suppose now that people will actually take what I say for 'gospel'! Help!!!
  10. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Right! I guess I've found the thread where to ask my questions.
    I'd like to know

    1. What does the "and counting" bit add? Is it a convention or something?
    I mean just saying T minus 35 minutes is enough to express the idea that there are 35 minutes to go before T-time, isn't it?

    2. Do you only use and counting in the case of T minus X or can you also use it for T plus X?
    As per Nun_Translator's post #8 in this thread?
    I figured out she meant "10,000+" but I'm not sure about the exact meaning of the "and-counting" phrase
  11. maxiogee Banned

    From my time-befuddled memory I seem to recall that in the early days of televised space-launches from Cape Canaveral there used to arise occasional hitches which caused them to hold the countdown - this gave rise to the expression "t-X and holding". I imagine that the "and counting" is a way to convey that normalcy prevails.

    As the only thing which they halted was the countDOWN, I doubt that there was any "and counting" after the mission took off. It is, of course, possible that other counting situations use the t- and t+ systems and may even use the t+ and counting, but I don't see the point.
  12. Kenneth Garland Senior Member

    Portishead, UK
    UK, English
    As far as I'm aware, the 'and counting' is a somewhat melodramatic way of highlighting the tension of the countdown to the launch of the rocket (or whatever). I'm not sure, in fact, that I've heard it in relation to anything other than rocket launching.

    I suppose it could be used after 'T', but I suspect only if there were some important next event that was expected at, eg 'T plus 15'. Otherwise, it loses its dramatic effect once 'T' has passed!
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It suggests to me an element of relentlessness, persistence, inevitability, stability, consistency, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick ... as the seconds count down - or in Elroy's case, as the posts count up:D
  14. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    So what did "t" stand for initially? Was it "take off" or just plain old "time" (or something else altogether like "the moment I will stop sounding like a robot")?
  15. Kenneth Garland Senior Member

    Portishead, UK
    UK, English
    I assume it was just 'T for time', just as 'H-hour' and 'D-day'!
  16. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Yes. Or any such situation, I suppose.
    For instance :
    Ash : 48 and counting.
    (before the Nostromo disengages from the refinery it's towing and heads towards LV-426). :)
  17. Kevman Senior Member

    Phoenix, Arizona
    USA English
    In the context of a rocket launch, I agree with maxiogee. Whenever the space shuttle is launched there are certain pre-determined points in the countdown where they stop the clock (see, for example, this events summary for the countdown to launch of STS-98). So they could either be at, say, "9 minutes and counting" or "9 minutes and holding."

    As long as the figure is still in motion, whether increasing or decreasing, and counting is a pretty common phrase to use, I'd say.
  18. cj427

    cj427 Senior Member

    I've heard (and used) "and counting" in a number of contexts that have nothing to do with rocket launches. The phrase merely expresses that whatever number you have just given is not a final number. So, you could say:

    "He's had 6 beers." "6 and counting!"
    "How many papers have you written for that class? "Five and counting!"
  19. maxiogee Banned

    Just because you have used them in contexts which have had nothing to do with rocket launches doesn't mean that the phrase doesn't derive from there. ;)
  20. cj427

    cj427 Senior Member

    Of course! I'm just saying it's possible to use them in other contexts.

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