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It fell between chairs

 

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Old August 17, 2010, 05:25 PM
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Question It fell between chairs

The idea I get is that something didn't get done because the responsibility to do it was not properly defined.

Does anyone have an authoritative definition for it?

And... what would be the translation into Spanish?
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  #2  
Old August 17, 2010, 06:48 PM
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Um, that must be British ... I have never ever heard that phrase. Perikles??

It sounds a LOT like another, very common phrase. "Fall through the cracks" ... could that be it? Something that "falls through the cracks" is definitely something that was overlooked for whatever reason ... usually because it was in some way a very small consideration and wasn't noticeable.

In education, we sometimes talk about students who have "fallen through the cracks", for example, a really nice kid who does a certain amount of work, never creates a problem behaviorally, but who doesn't do well academically ... and is surrounded by kids who are very badly behaved and who exhaust all of the teacher's time and attention. It is (very sadly) that type of student who easily falls through the cracks.

Do you have context for the statement using the word "chairs"?
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Old August 17, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
Um, that must be British ... I have never ever heard that phrase. Perikles??

It sounds a LOT like another, very common phrase. "Fall through the cracks" ... could that be it? Something that "falls through the cracks" is definitely something that was overlooked for whatever reason ... usually because it was in some way a very small consideration and wasn't noticeable.

In education, we sometimes talk about students who have "fallen through the cracks", for example, a really nice kid who does a certain amount of work, never creates a problem behaviorally, but who doesn't do well academically ... and is surrounded by kids who are very badly behaved and who exhaust all of the teacher's time and attention. It is (very sadly) that type of student who easily falls through the cracks.

Do you have context for the statement using the word "chairs"?
Right. Fall through the cracks is what I am used to hearing. In Spanish I guess it would be "traspapelado".
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Old August 17, 2010, 07:04 PM
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They are right... If I heard someone say that it fell between the chairs I would say "You mean cracks?"

Not saying that's not an expression, but I'm all 6's and 7's here.
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Old August 17, 2010, 08:41 PM
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Question

Interesting... Thank you all for the input... I've seen that the "chairs" version could have a German or (most likely) Swedish origin. (There are tons of usages with "chairs" in Google, and I have heard the expression before by Californians... although I recognize the "cracks" version may be the more extended one.)

Fell between two stools: didn't get done because it wasn't clear whose responsibility it was (or didn't accept responsibility). The insurance company says it is the travel company's problem, the travel company says it is a matter for the insurance company. I am getting nowhere: it has fallen between two stools.

I found the above in word.wizard, if you want to get another forum discussion about the matter.
http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/vie...0de58&start=15

Interestingly enough I am still trying to find a good Spanish expression or translation... whether there are 'cracks' 'chairs' 'stools' or 'sofas'...

There must be something in Spanish like, I don't know, "entre Pinto y Valdemoro" (not the meaning at all, that is in between two villages, and not been able to take a decision... or "cada palo que aguante su vela" as in each person should take responsibility for his own duties...)
Entre todos la mataron y ella sola se murió (literally: they all killed/murdered her, and she herself died [by her own doing]).
I am just throwing these somewhat related Spanish expressions, "thinking aloud" but also trying to inspire myself or other "foreros" with a good Spanish expression... that somewhat is eluding me at this moment...
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Old August 17, 2010, 09:37 PM
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The most common expression here is 'fall through the cracks', as already stated. I've never heard the 'chairs' or 'stools' expressions.

I've always tied the phrase 'fall through the cracks' to losing something between filing cabinets or behind the filing cabinet and the wall.
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Old August 17, 2010, 11:14 PM
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Thank you, Rusty. That makes sense. Is there any other expression to communicate that "something wasn't done or properly addressed due to the fact that nobody took responsibility for it?
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Old August 17, 2010, 11:46 PM
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get lost in the shuffle
left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing
fall off the radar / fall under the radar


The memo was in my inbox, but it got lost in the shuffle. (This phrase doesn't necessarily have to involve paper. Anything that falls through the cracks can also get lost in the shuffle.)
We lost the contract because of a breakdown in communication. The left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing.
What request? It must have fallen off the radar. So that won't happen again, make sure you send future requests to everyone in the department.
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Old August 18, 2010, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
Um, that must be British ... I have never ever heard that phrase. Perikles??
I have never heard the expression with chairs, but to fall between two stools is a common enough expression. As I understand it, it is when you have two choices and you can't decide which. Either would be acceptable but because you can't decide you finish up with neither.

It's a bit like the chicken on the railway track which gets squashed by a train because it can't decide whether to jump to the left or the right ....

Imagine when a girl has the choice of two boyfriends and she dithers until finally both guys find other girlfriends and she finishes up with neither. That is falling between two stools.

I chose that example, because you could also say she was stalling between two fools.
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Old August 18, 2010, 01:43 AM
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@Rusty, thank you very much. These options are very useful.
@Perikles. Thank you for the explanation. That's funny!
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