Idiom: To be light years ahead of
Context #1 – Becki and Sookie are talking about phones
Sookie: I really don’t know what to do. I’m so tired!.
Becki: What happened?
Sookie: I’m trying to talk my grandma into buying a new phone. Right now, she has one of those old flip phones from like 10 years ago. She insists that she doesn’t want anything different. I keep trying to tell her that the iphone is light years ahead of the flip phone and that she will see how much easier it is with a smart phone.
Becki: She probably doesn’t even know all the things the iphone can do. She can only make calls on her phone, right?
Sookie: Well, calls and low quality pictures. Despite all that, she says that she doesn’t want some fancy phone with functions that are light years ahead of her flip phone. She likes things just the way they are.
Context #2 – Deborah is asking about Carl’s 6-year-old son
Deborah: So how is your son doing in first grade?
Carl: He is doing great. Actually, that’s the problem.
Deborah: It’s a problem that he is doing great?
Carl: Yes. His teachers told me that he is really smart and learns things really fast in class. She said he is light years ahead of his classmates.
Deborah: That doesn’t sound like a problem to me.
Carl: Well, it is. Academically, he is light years ahead of the other students, but socially he is six years old and needs to have friends his age to play with.
Deborah: Oh, I see.
Carl: Now we have to decide whether to move him up a grade or keep him in the same grade.
Meaning: The idiom “light years ahead of” means to be a long way ahead of someone or something in terms of development or success. In context one, Sookie is trying to convince her grandma to buy a phone that is light years ahead of (or much more developed than) her grandma’s flip phone. In context 2, Carl is worried about his son being more advanced academically than his classmates because socially he wants his son to be surrounded by children his own age.
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