As quick as a flash

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2012, 12:00am


'Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards. They are quick to anger'

J R R Tolkien (1892-1973), novelist

A quick question

The adjectives 'quick' and 'fast' have roughly the same meaning ... most of the time. Generally, 'quick' is a measure of time and 'fast' is a measure of speed always involving movement. That is a fast car! I've got a quick question to ask you. The best way to understand this difference is to learn and use a few set phrases. Here goes.

Quick not fast

What do these verb phrases mean?

1 to happen as quick as a flash

a. to happen in an instant

b. to happen in the future

2 to have a quick temper

a. to have a temper that everybody is afraid of

b. to have a temper that flares up suddenly

3 to have a quick bite

a. to eat a snack

b. to eat something you don't usually like

4 to do something in double-quick time

a. to do something very quickly

b. to do something that shocks everyone

5 to be quick off the mark

a. to do something carefully

b. to react quickly to an event or situation

Fast not quick

What do these phrases mean?

1 to pull a fast one

a. to successfully deceive someone

b. to give a friend lots of encouragement

2 to be a fast talker

a. to be someone who can never keep a secret

b. to be someone who is good at persuading others to do as he or she wants

3 to be sinking fast

a. to have a fear of water

b. to be feeling more and more tired or ill

4 to stand fast

a. to stick to what you have said or done

b. to wait a long time in a queue

5 to live life in the fast lane

a. to have an exciting and busy lifestyle

b. to have no savings in the bank

Quick or fast?

Fill in each of the blanks with the correct adjective.

1 I am going to stand ...... by what I believe to be right.

2 Let's have a ...... bite before we leave.

3 I've got to get to bed. I'm sinking ......

4 Goodness! You did that in double ....... time.

5 Be careful what you say to him. He's got a very ....... temper.

6 The accident happened as ...... as a flash. I just didn't see the other car.

7 Since my brother moved to London, he's been living life in the ...... lane.

What are you saying?

What do you mean when you say ...?

1 There are no hard and fast rules.

a. You can use any method you want.

b. You have to do it in a certain way.

2 Can you do it in double-quick time, please?

a. Can you do it very carefully?

b. Can you do it extremely quickly?

3 We'll take a quick trot through what's happening today.

a. We'll have a quick look at the main details.

b. We must discuss everything in detail.

4 I got here as fast as my legs would carry me.

a. I walked all the way here.

b. I got here as quickly as I could.

5 We haven't much time. Press the fast-forward button, please.

a. Can you do it much quicker?

b. Can you finish it in your own time?


Quick not fast: 1. a, 2. b, 3. a, 4. a, 5. b

Fast not quick: 1. a, 2. b, 3. b, 4. a, 5. a

Quick or fast?: 1. fast, 2. quick, 3. fast, 4. quick, 5. quick, 6. quick, 7. Fast

What are you saying?: 1. a, 2. b, 3. a, 4. b, 5. a