This party is the/a bomb.

JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
This party is the/a bomb.

Can bomb here mean (1) a success and (2) a failure, depending on context and/or the article (the or a)?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Urban Dictionary -http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bomb - is quite convincing, although I suspect the dates are a little vague:
    Bomb
    1. (before 1997) Something really bad; a failure
    2. (after 1997) Something considered excellent and/or the best (uses modifier "the")

    1. I hated that movie! I'm not surprised that it was a total bomb at the box office.

    2. I loved that movie! It was the bomb!
    by Bill M. July 27, 2004
    My emphasis. From what I see and hear currently, the distinction the bomb (excellent) and a bomb (failure/rubbish) is still maintained
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    But when you say, "This party is going like a bomb", "a bomb" means a success, right?
    You must use the continuous form to express the present process/durative action.

    "To go like a bomb" is an idiom and thus not a relevant example of a/the bomb. Also, in this idiom "bomb" is much closer in meaning to a literal bomb.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "This party goes like a bomb"
    If you meant to write "This party is going like a bomb", then I'd agree that people are enjoying the party. Since a party is a time-limited event, we need the continuous form - it won't be going after midnight, for example. "This car goes like a bomb" works, because it went like a bomb yesterday and will be going like a bomb tomorrow.

    Cross-posted and agreeing.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    ...
    Since a party is a time-limited event, we need the continuous form - it won't be going after midnight, for example. "This car goes like a bomb" works, because it went like a bomb yesterday and will be going like a bomb tomorrow.
    What exactly do you mean by "a time-limited event"?
    Is there any event related to humans that is not time-limited?
    The act of a car going like a bomb will last like 10 years, 20 years? But in most practical cases it won't last more than 50 years.
    So it can and should be time limited, I'd think.

    On the other hand, I can think of a couple of contexts where you can definitely say "This party goes like a bomb".
    First one I can think of is, when you're doing a narrative in which you describe a party that went like a bomb. And You can say that sentence in that narrative.
    Second one is, the party is in the near future, and you're 100% sure about the party's success, and you utter this sentence.
    What do you think of either of these cases?
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    On the other hand, I can think of a couple of contexts where you can definitely say "This party goes like a bomb".
    First one I can think of is, when you're doing a narrative in which you describe a party that went like a bomb. And You can say that sentence in that narrative.
    Second one is, the party is in the near future, and you're 100% sure about the party's success, and you utter this sentence.
    What do you think of either of these cases?
    The first one is possible in a narrative, yes. The simple present is not suitable for a spoken prediction that a party will go well, though.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I mean it's a short period of activity - a few hours. While it is happening, it's going. Then it's over.

    First one I can think of is, when you're doing a narrative in which you describe a party that went like a bomb. And You can say that sentence in that narrative.
    Second one is, the party is in the near future, and you're 100% sure about the party's success, and you utter this sentence.
    What do you think of either of these cases?
    Not much. I could not say it in the first case, and I would not say it in the second.

    If I were to describe a party in the past I would say "It went like a bomb" or, if there was an incident, "it was going like a bomb until Paul threw up over the vicar's cat". I wouldn't use the historic present.

    If I was sure of a party's future success - "It will go like a bomb" or "It's going to go like a bomb" - although in real life I doubt I would ever predict that a party was a guaranteed success.

    I can think of no circumstances that would ever allow me to say "This party goes like a bomb".

    The car isn't a time-limited event. It may be going like a bomb on today's journey. Then it will rest in the garage. Then it will go like a bomb tomorrow - that's a separate event. It will carry on doing that for months or years. That's why I can say today, while in it, that it goes like a bomb.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    For what it's worth, I've never heard "going like a bomb" in American English.

    -- This party is a bomb.
    Here, the article "a" is used in the standard way. It's referring to one example of the class of things called bombs. In this figurative sense, "bomb" means failure. "This party is a failure."

    -- This party is "the bomb".
    Here the article "the" is used differently. "The bomb" is a slang term that stands independently. The two words together mean "great". So the sentence is saying "This party is great."

    "bomb" in the first example is a noun.
    "the bomb" in the second example is an adjective.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top