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The final nail in the coffin

[ 2009-09-07 10:59]     字号 [] [] []  
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Readers' question: What does the phrase "the final nail in the coffin" mean?

My comments:

“The final nail in the coffin” is a vivid metaphor commonly used and useful to master in our path towards greater English language proficiency. To begin just think of what actually is a coffin and what it represents, i.e. death or the container that is holding someone who is dead.

In this instance the final nail in the coffin would signify that the deceased person is definitely now ready to be buried and put away – there is no more hope for resuscitation or the return to life. From here it is just 6 foot under – to be buried underground with the worms.

Now we all want to live as long as possible and even right up to the last moment we try to resist the onset of death. So what comes with this phrase is the idea or suggestion that there is some resistance or struggle involved in the death process.

So with this phrase the final nail in the coffin Cambridge Online Dictionary define it as, “an event which causes the failure of something that had already started to fail.” As we can see here it’s the final act or blow in what has already been a downward trend.

Two examples we could use, “It was the final nail in the coffin when the department head refused to meet him.” Or alternatively, “The growth of online services and the advertising market’s contraction combined to act as the final nail in the coffin for the industry.”

Well readers according to many schools of thought, life and death are two sides of the same coin so let’s not get too overwhelmed with coffins here. And as autumn approaches it too represents the nail in the coffin for this year’s rather exhausting record-breaking summer. And that is reason for mirth.

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Public outreach

Talk oneself into a corner

Scare the daylights out of

Be on the cards

Rule of thumb

Take the high road

A feeling for a "soft touch"






About the author:

The final nail in the coffin

About the author: Brendan has taught at universities, high schools and primary schools in Japan,the UK, Australia and China. He is a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor and has extensive experience with International English Language Examinations. In the field of writing Brendan has been published in The Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, Inflight magazines and the Asia News Network. He can be contacted at brendanjohnworrell@hotmail.com.