I was reading an article about the recent election and how "The Simpsons" series predicted Trump's victory in the election. When the writer was asked for an explanation he replied:

What we needed was for Lisa to have problems beyond her fixing, that everything went as bad as it possibly could, and that’s why we had Trump be president before her

What do "fixing" and "beyond one's fixing" mean here?

  • It's not really grammatically correct, but it means "problems which she is not able to fix".
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 17:25
  • See beyond: "2. outside the limits or scope of ⇒ beyond this country's jurisdiction". Problems outside of her ability (her limits) to fix them.
    – user3169
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 17:28
  • 1
    @Andrew it is, in fact, grammatically correct, if a less common turn of phrase. Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


This is a stylized or literary way of saying problems one is unable to repair or resolve, because one's ability to do so is insufficient. This is a fairly formal construction, and less likely to appear in colloquial speech.

Beyond X's Y is an idiom meaning outside, past, or greater than the scope of Y, as Y relates to X. Examples:

  • Beyond one's ken - outside of one's knowledge and experience
  • Beyond my means - it would take more capacity, resources, or abilities than I possess or have access to
  • Beyond the pale - past or overreaching the appropriate boundary, in an egregious fashion; one is understood to mean everyone or the topic in general

In this specific case, fixing is a gerund, and as such, an appropriate target for the preposition beyond. Because this is an idiom, it's understood that its meaning here is ability to repair, and not literal act of repairing.

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