English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips > Zhang Xin

Par for the course?

[ 2011-02-22 13:28]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009

Par for the course?

Reader question:

Please explain “par for the course” in this sentence: Recovery will falter, but that’s par for the course.

My comments:

It means the economy will not be bouncing right back like a basketball bounces right back from the floor, but that’s to be expected.

In other words, difficult economic recoveries are nothing unusual. And, so, don’t be surprised.

To be “par for the course” is to be normal, ordinary, average, hence the different connotations. This phrase is an invention from the game of golf, par being the average score – the average number of strokes (hits) it normally takes a golfer of average capability to complete a hole.

A hole?

Well, let’s begin from beginning. The game of golf is a game in which people use a stick called club to hit a ball over a piece of land called a golf course, course as in, say, river course, implying that golf courses are narrow and long, winding like a river – the standard golf course stretches no less than five kilometers, as a matter of fact.

The long and short of it is, the aim of the game is to drive the ball eventually into each and every one of 18 holes dug out of the ground.

In score keeping, they nominate a par score for each and every hole. If the first hole is, say, par five, and you hit exactly five stokes to complete the hole, you’ve scored a par five. If you drive the ball into the hole with four strokes, then you’ve scored one under, or one under par at four; on the other hand, if it takes you six strokes, you are one over, or one over par at six.

Par for the course?

That means par score, or average score if you prefer, for the whole golf course. The par score for a regulation professional golf course is usually 72 over 18 holes. Hence, if it takes you exactly 72 hits to complete the 18 holes, then your final score will be par 72.

That means you’ve done ok, but perhaps not too well. In other words, your score is on a par (on the same level) with the average on a normal day, with normal weather, that is to say under the normal circumstances. Tiger Woods, say, under the same condition might have needed 10 strokes fewer, in which case his final score would be 10 under, 62. In other words, you need to practice, practice and practice in order to give a performance that’s to be considered on a par with the best of them.

Anyways, figuratively speaking, when anything is considered “par for the course”, it is regarded as normal, ordinary, mundane, something to be expected, nothing unusual or unsurprising and hence, in short, nothing to roll your eyes over.

Is everything clear?

Phew! Alright, here are two more media examples of “par for the course”:

1. Roy Hodgson has opened up on his ill-fated stint at Liverpool, revealing he feels “wounded” by what was his worst six months as a manager.

Hodgson is back in football just 37 days after being shown the exit door at Anfield in charge of West Brom. He prefers to look to the future rather than reflect on his spell with the Reds. But Hodgson is honest enough to concede his pride was hurt although his self belief has not been affected.

Hodgson said: “I didn’t feel drained but you do feel wounded. I have had a very good spell in my career and it’s a long time since I have had a very serious knock-back so, when it comes, it wounds you.

“You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t but it hasn’t dented any confidence or belief. But I can’t lie and say it didn’t hurt me, or I didn’t care, because, of course, I care. I care very passionately about my job and I care about football and I have had an awful lot of praise. So, when you get the opposite, it’s not something you particularly embrace, but, if you’ve got half a brain, you accept that as being part of the job or par for the course.

- Hodgson ‘wounded’ by Liverpool stint, Soccernet.com, February 15, 2011.

2. Mackintosh had always been a drinker. There are stories that he would work all night in the offices of the Glasgow architectural firm Honeyman and Keppie, filling page after page with drawings, emptying a bottle of whisky as he did so. But that was par for the course in Glasgow at the time, reckons Macaulay. “I think he drank heavily always. There was very much a drinking culture. People go on about it now, but it’s nothing new. There were all these drinking dens of various levels of respectability all over the city.

“Alcoholism and drunkenness were major problems. They were a major problem in the First World War. That’s why in certain areas the pubs were nationalised – to curb the drinking of the workers in the munitions factories.

“I remember an old lady said to me they all drank, even the women. And Mackintosh and his group seem to have been a part of a rather bohemian set. And they weren’t popular with other artists and architects and this comes out quite clearly in the few reminiscences that we have – that they were slightly apart and they were looked on with disapproval.”

Macaulay even suggests you can see the intertwining of work and drink in ­Mackintosh’s drawings. He cites the architect’s drawing of Maybole Castle. “If you actually go to Maybole, you think, ‘Where did he position himself to make this drawing?’ Clearly it was the pub. It was the pub directly across the road. And there are quite a lot of pieces of written evidence that when he went on sketching tours he behaved very badly and was thrown out of places, so he seems to have drunk all through his life. It seems to have been quite a big problem.”

- The last days of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, HeraldScotland.com, May 24, 2010.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Under the thumb?

He did himself few favors?

Ugly mug?

Sitting duck

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)