2

Board games are cool and all but what about card games?

What does and all* mean? And would this mean the same thing if we said “cool and everything”?

5

As used here, and all is a colloquial expression—do not use it in formal contexts.

It means, approximately, “and everything else that is associated with that”. It is used at the end of a clause, and it is dismissive: it characterizes what that clause says or implies as unimportant or unimpressive. It is almost always followed immediately by a clause (usually headed by but) which expresses what the speaker regards as, in contrast, more important or impressive.

Board games are cool and all but what about card games? = While board games are enjoyable and get a lot of attention, I invite you to consider the superior claims of card games.

Bob may be the numbers guy and all, but it’s Paula makes this department work = I grant that management admires Bob’s extraordinary technical financial skills, but Paula’s organizational and motivational abilities are more important to our productivity.

I know she’s hot and all, but jeez, she’s dumb as a brick = Although she is physically attractive and vivacious and, in consequence, very popular, she is not at all intelligent.

Dawson hit a lot of home runs and all, but Ozzie should have been the MVP = Andre Dawson’s 1987 offensive production was spectacular—49 home runs, 137 RBI— but that was in large part due to his moving to Wrigley Field. Ozzie Smith hit for higher average and OBP that year, and his defense was, as always, otherworldly—and the Cards won the pennant.

Note that and all modifies the entire preceding clause, not just the final element.

And everything, as you suggest, may be used in the same context, and so may et cetera and blah-blah-blah and yada-yada-yada; but and all is probably used more than all these others put together.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.