Up close and personal

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Ryu

Senior Member
Japan and Japanese
I always appreciate the help of senior members who answer my question.

The phrase "up close and personal" has been bothering me for many years. I know the movie titled as such. But I can't make out what it actually means.

(1) What does "up close and personal" mean?
(2) How do you usually use it?

Please help me.

Thank you!
 
  • modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    It's more difficult to explain without context, but generally, it makes just how it sounds: getting very, very close to a subject or person.
     

    Ryu

    Senior Member
    Japan and Japanese
    Thanks for such a quick reply, modgirl.

    Context..., I heard this phrase in some movies, but I couldn't catch the lines where it was used.

    Coming from you, you could say "The art of interviewing people is to get (or be) up close and personal with people (or topics interviewees are interested in)"??
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Ryu said:
    Coming from you, you could say "The art of interviewing people is to get (or be) up close and personal with people (or topics interviewees are interested in)"??
    Yes, the implication is that the "closeness" is closer than what might be considered normal or average for that situation.

    For instance, when someone interviews a celebrity, it's assumed that the discussion will revolve around the celebrity's career: current projects, origins of the career, and such. However, perhaps an interviewer somehow managed to get the celebrity to speak about his children, his marriage, or his personal relationships for a change. Then, advertising to get people to read the finished interview (or to watch it on TV) might state: Tonight at 8pm, our interviewer gets up close and personal with celebrity X. Find out what's really bothering celebrity X about the state of the world today. Or something like that.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I have to add that very often, maybe even most often, a contfrontational subtext comes with this expression. It can be an understated way of threatening to get too "close and personal" with someone.

    It can refer to hashing something out, clearing the air about something that's been building up for some time-- often something negative.

    "Oh yeah? Well if he wants, we can get up close and personal about it." This is a very plausible tone to take when using this expression, and it strongly implies violence. "He tried to get up close and personal with me" means something a lot like "he got in my face."

    It can also have a sexual connotation, again to me it has a subtext of bringing a long-building situation to a head. "After weeks of crowding me in the hallway and giving me 'meaningful' looks from across the room, she finally got up close and personal with it."

    Finally, it's an expression that lends itself to humor. "I was happy when she invited me up for coffee, but that was before I found out it meant getting up close and personal with that exuberant Great Pyrennees of hers. That thing sheds by the bushel!"
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'm more accustomed to the use of the phrase with respect to knowledge of a topic.

    Mr. A went on and on about the lazy, undeserving poor.
    I told Mr. A that until he'd experienced poverty up close and personal, he didn't know a damn thing about it.
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Fox and Kelly have given excellent examples! So many words and expressions in English have have several different connotations, some very close in meaning, and some not so close.
     

    Ryu

    Senior Member
    Japan and Japanese
    Good morning, friends. Today is the Respect of the Aged Day in Japan and a holiday. I'm going to take my parents-in-law to a nearby hot spa.

    This phrase "up close and personal" is not found in any dictionary I checked, and its uses in the Internet did not give me any clear idea of what it means. But thanks to you, I seem to have gotten "up close and personal" with this phrase.

    I wonder why no dictionaries (I mean major ones, such as Longman, Cambridge, or Random House) have included it even though it is (or seems to me) widely used.

    Let me make clear about usage:

    (1) "up close and personal" means i) to get to know very well about somebody or something or have a good knowledge about something, and can indicate ii) use of violence or sexual relationship depending on the situation due to its "physical nearness" implication the phrase conveys.
    (2) "up close and personal" plus "with somebody or something"
    (3) "with" is interchangeable with "about"

    Is my understanding correct?
     

    Derringer

    Member
    USA
    USA, English, Portuguese, German, Latin
    Ryu said:
    Good morning, friends. Today is the Respect of the Aged Day in Japan and a holiday. I'm going to take my parents-in-law to a nearby hot spa.

    This phrase "up close and personal" is not found in any dictionary I checked, and its uses in the Internet did not give me any clear idea of what it means. But thanks to you, I seem to have gotten "up close and personal" with this phrase.

    I wonder why no dictionaries (I mean major ones, such as Longman, Cambridge, or Random House) have included it even though it is (or seems to me) widely used.

    Let me make clear about usage:

    (1) "up close and personal" means i) to get to know very well about somebody or something or have a good knowledge about something, and can indicate ii) use of violence or sexual relationship depending on the situation due to its "physical nearness" implication the phrase conveys.
    (2) "up close and personal" plus "with somebody or something"
    (3) "with" is interchangeable with "about"

    Is my understanding correct?
    Generally, it doesn't simply mean having in depth knowledge about someone or something--it means gaining knowledge by interacting with a person or thing. Because interaction is implied, "with" should be used and not "about."
     

    Ryu

    Senior Member
    Japan and Japanese
    Derringer, thanks.

    "Interaction" is the key. That is my new finding.

    Thanks, again.
     
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