1

The following sentence is from the VOA Learning English program:

Reports say Burt Ward was paid very little to play Robin in the television series. But he says he has made a good living appearing at fan conventions over the past 45 years.

How to parse the sentence " But he says he has made a good living appearing at fan conventions over the past 45 years."

I have two explanations:

  • He has made a good living by appearing at fan conventions. It means that he has made money by attending the fan conventions.
  • Appearing at fan conventions ,he has made a good living. It means that even though he is not a star, but he still can lead a good life. And he showed up at the fan conventions in a good state and image.

Which one is correct and why ?

2

to make a living is an idiom meaning:

to earn a living from something or by doing something.

So this is saying that for the past 45 years he has earned enough money to live on by getting paid to speak at fan conventions.

Also note that he says 'a good living' which means he made more than enough to simply get by on.

To attend a convention means to go to the convention as a spectator, so we would not say he attended the convention, thus the use of to appear in/at.

  • Actually, he's paid to speak at fan conventions, which are typically attended by people in reasonably good trim – James Waldby - jwpat7 Nov 1 '13 at 4:22
  • @jwpat7- Ha. good catch. Fixed. – Jim Nov 1 '13 at 4:24

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