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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

a (bit of a) stretch

Example 1 - 2 friends talking on a Monday morning
Tony: What's up, Milly? How was your weekend?
Milly: It was crazy! You'll never believe it.
Tony: Wow, sounds so interesting! Tell me about it...
Milly: Well, we had a birthday party for my roommate. We had over 80 people in our apartment! The party went on until 4 in the morning!
Tony: Hmm, well I've been to your apartment before and I know how small it is. 80 people you say? That's a stretch! I doubt you had barely 30 people. Any more than that, the neighbors would complain and the police would have been called! You're totally exaggerating!

Example 2 - 2 friends talking about plans for the summer
Frank: I don't think I'll be able to take any vacations for at least 5 years!
Monica: Why not? Surely you can take a weekend to San Diego or somewhere else nearby. What's the issue?
Frank: Well, for sure I will lose most of my paycheck to taxes. I don't have enough left at the end of the month for anything fun.
Monica: Oh, Frank! That's a bit of a stretch! I know taxes are a pain, but to say most of our money goes to taxes is an exaggeration! Let me show you some cool apps on the iPhone for money management....

a (bit of a) stretch =  an exaggeration
The speaker is "stretching the truth"

In Example 1, Milly claims to have had over 80 people in her apartment for a late-night party. Tony knows that Milly is likely exaggerating because her apartment is small. He tells her, "That's a stretch!" Which is the same as saying "That's an exaggeration!"

In Example 2, Frank is claiming to lose most of his money to taxes each month. Monica says he's slightly exaggerating. The word "most" generally refers to quantities of 50% or higher.

This expression is most often used with that's (that is contracted). Use a bit of a  when it's not a huge exaggeration as in Example 2.

More examples:
"I haven't slept at all in a whole week!"   "That's a stretch! I saw you taking a nap in class this morning!"

"I haven't slept at all today." "That's a bit of a stretch! I saw you taking a nap in class this morning!"