I read this line in Merriam Webster word of the day-fastidious

"I may have thrown in a little thing here or there, but I'm pretty fastidious about sticking to the script if I like it…."
— Michael Shannon, Screen International, 21 Nov. 2016

Can someone please tell me what that line meant in the context. I'd like to know only the meaning of I may have thrown in a little thing here or there.

  • here or there|here and there = in a few places (similar to now and then)
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 17:33
  • There are a lot of "distancing" phrases in this statement. The phrases "may have", "thrown in", "little thing", and "here or there" all have a distancing effect, and the speaker uses all four of them consecutively. Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 2:29

2 Answers 2


If you have a screenplay (a script), there is dialogue. Generally, actors need to memorize the lines and speak them as written.

Sometimes, directors will tolerate some differences with the script when the actors say the lines in a slightly different way, when they do not "stick to" the script (follow it exactly).

To throw in a little thing here and there means: to put in small changes of your own to the lines as written. Here and there refers to here and there [in the script].

The speaker is saying that he may have added a few words or expressions of this own. This can make it better if the actor is a great actor (a Meryl Streep, for instance) or it may just annoy the director.

  • 4
    In a word: Improvising
    – user10165
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 19:37
  • 2
    Or ad libbing
    – delliottg
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 22:11
  • 1
    @DoritoStyle No, ad libbing and improvising are very different. To improvise is when you don't know your lines at all and just make them up; also, it is a style of comedy; Ad libbing is to get up in public and speak without any preparation and can be for acting. That said: neither mean throwing a little something in, which implies actually know your lines but add to them in some way.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 23:07
  • Thats a bit of a pedantic distinction, especially in a more general sense
    – user10165
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 0:07
  • 3
    @Lambie your definitions of ad libbing and improvising are limited and do not reflect either common usage or dictionary definitions.
    – barbecue
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 2:17

The generic form of this idiomatic expression is "to throw in (a little) something", meaning, "to add your own personal changes". Example:

The recipe was pretty dull so I threw in a little something to spice it up.

As with many other idiomatic expressions you can "throw in a little something" to personalize it:

I may have thrown in a little thing here or there

I tossed in a little thing I came up with.

Or, as an (already outdated) slang expression:

I thought I'd add a little sum-sum on the end.


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