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By fits and snatches

[ 2010-04-22 16:40]     字号 [] [] []  
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By fits and snatches

Reader’s question:

A: It's impulsive of you to do these things.

B: It's my style. Actually, I do anything by fits and snatches.

Could you explain “by fits and snatches”?

My comments:

Also by fits and starts.

Observe a car that has an ignition problem. That is, the ignition turns on and then promptly turns off, on and off. The car lunges forward and stops, lunges and stops, giving the driver fits (if, that is, the driver is one prone to be given fits by such matters).

“Snatch” implies the action is quick and short. “Fit”? Well, like a person who’s having a fit - an uncontrollable emotion.

Hence he who does things by fits and snatches are impulsive, as well explained in the example from above.

Well explained indeed I hope this is.

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Go to Zhang Xin's column


About the author:

Zhang Xin 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.