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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Up to a Point

Up to a Point
Meaning: not completely, partially, not fully

Example 1:
Terry: I don’t know what to do. I’m so upset!

Sarah: What’s wrong?

Tom: My roommate is so messy! All I ever do is clean up after her.

Sarah: Really? Have you tried to talk to her about it?

Tom: That’s the problem. She is so nice and when she first moved in, she warned me that she wasn’t very clean. I mean, I can handle a messy house up to a point, but it’s ridiculous when I find pieces of bread under the sofa cushions!

Sarah: Wow. I guess that would get annoying. Why don’t you just tell her that? Just say that you have been able to handle this situation up to a point, but now it is just too much and she needs to make some changes.

Terry: You’re right. I will talk to her and hopefully things get better. Otherwise, I’ll need to find a new roommate and that’s hard.

Sarah: Well, good luck!

Example 2:
Kelly: I’m really happy with my new job and I’m getting a lot of hours, so I’ve been able to save a lot of money.

Jenny: That’s great. Do you work on the weekends, too?

Kelly: Yes, I do. I can work weekends up to a point, but if I do that for too long, I’ll get really tired.

Jenny: You should probably tell your boss so that he doesn’t expect you to always work weekends.

Kelly: You’re right. I’ll let him know that working on the weekends is only temporary.

Up to a point means partially or not completely. In example 1, Terry is able to tolerate his roommate’s messy habits partially, or somewhat, but he is at the point now where he cannot handle it.  In example b, Kelly is happy to be working a lot of hours so that she can make more money. However, she can only work a lot on the weekends for a while and doesn’t want to do it permanently.

This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Reading Horizons, 2nd edition. This book is used in the level 6 Reading/Vocabulary classes. For more information, please visit:

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