Tue 26 May, 2015 12:23 am
A couple of days ago, a news reporter here in Australia was previewing the weather forecast and delivered the following phrase:
"There is very little in the way of rain"
As it was my family and I watching, I made the comment of saying that there is barely any rain on the way, whereas my brother stated that I was wrong and that it actually meant that there was nothing stopping the rain from approaching us.
I then thought about it and fully understood and was able to explain why I get my brother's point of view whereas when my brother asked me why I thought it meant what I thought and no matter what came out of my mouth, it made no sense.
So as this has been bugging me for a while now, I thought I'd ask this here, could someone please justify my meaning behind the phrase, because according to the weather forecast after the ad break, I was correct.
Thanks in advance.
Your brother has logic on his side, but you are right about the actual meaning. Anyhow, you would be right in the United States.
And you're correct in Australia as well.
It is an example of Hyperbaton (a generic term for changing the normal or expected order of words) . The weather man's problem is how to say there is very little rain without sounding boring . So "There is very little in the way of rain" adds interest through a literary device called a Hyperbaton .
I would assume, like the others and yourself, that he did mean that there was not any rain predicted for that day. My guess is weather people do not analyze everything they say, it he simply said it without realizing that there is a bit of confusion if the phrase is analyzed. By chance, did it rain on the predicted day? I know you said you were correct based on the post-ad prediction, but I am curious to know if it did rain.
he simply said it without realizing that there is a bit of confusion if the phrase is analyzed
No . They say it far too regularly for that .
The phrase "in the way of" as used in the example means "that can be classified as" or "in the nature of". It is an idiomatic phrase, and would cause no confusion in a native speaker.
I wanted to make a fire but could find nothing in the way of fuel.
We were hungry but there was nothing in the way of food in the house.
My guess is weather people do not analyze everything they say, it he simply said it without realizing that there is a bit of confusion if the phrase is analyzed
He did not need to analyse what he said. "In the way of" is a perfectly normal everyday phrase, universally understood by native speakers. There was no error in what the weather forecaster said.
@Tes yeux noirs,
Kind of late, Tres, but welcome to A2K. I appreciate your clear help in the language forums.