'work something out' as a way of saying 'write it down'?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Nuzzi, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Nuzzi Senior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    Hi there,
    in Saki's 'Reginald on the Academy' one reads the following dialogue:

    “I merely told her with engaging simplicity that the art of life was the avoidance of the unattainable.”

    “Did she try and work it out on the back of her catalogue?”

    Now I wonder what does she exactly with it on the back of her catalogue and whether there is a (rare) meaning of 'work out' equivalent to 'write down'... Can any one help me?
    Thank you
     
  2. WyomingSue

    WyomingSue Senior Member

    Cheyenne, WY
    English--USA
    If I have the math problems 16x + y = 20 and -7x + 11 = -3 I will probably have to write them down on paper to work them out, because I'm not that good doing it in my head. You can work things out in various ways--in your head, on paper, using a calculator, by spreading machine parts all over your driveway ....
     
  3. Nuzzi Senior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    Fine! And Reginald's sentence is to her as complicated as a math problem! (and sometimes to me)
    Thank you very much
     

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