I was watching Zuckerberg congress hearing, and a senator said

"Dorm room to the global behemoth that you guys are"

Really, I don't understand what this sentence means, especially the use of

"Dorm room to .."

According to my knowledge, a dorm room is a room where we sleep .. is it a local term ?

The whole extract:

SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And Mr. Zuckerberg, quite a story, right? Dorm room to the global behemoth that you guys are. Only in America, would you agree with that?

ZUCKERBERG: Senator, mostly in America.

SULLIVAN: You couldn't — you couldn't do this in China, right? Or, what you did in 10 years.

ZUCKERBERG: Well — well, senator, there are — there are some very strong Chinese Internet companies.

SULLIVAN: Right but — you're supposed to answer “yes” to this question.

  • 3
    It is elliptical. They went from a dorm-room start-up to being a giant company. That is, a start up whose founders were still at university at the time. The preposition to refers to a progression or metamorphosis. Caterpillar to butterfly Apr 14 '18 at 12:47

Speech (in any language) often leaves bits out:

"And Mr. Zuckerberg, quite a story, right? [You went from a ] Dorm room to [becoming] the global behemoth that you guys are. Only in America, would you agree with that?"

Any native speaker listening to that senator would have understood the phrase that way or in a similar way. In other words, speech can be very different from written language.

Some of the ways it is different are (those are taken from the paper cited):

filled pauses - noises made by the speaker that don't correspond to words (ah, uh, um, etc). • restarts - repeating a word or phrase. The original word or phrase may be complete or truncated.

• interjections - extraneous phrases as in "on line thirty, I guess it is".

• unknown or mispronounced words

• ellipsis

• ungrammatical constructions - Users make errors of agreement (sub-verb, number, etc) and may use constituents in unusual orders ("to the utilities cell add fifty dollars")

I would personally add to that list: truncation, where the speaker doesn't say something in full.

A dorm room means a room in a college or university dormitory.

real speech

  • Nice reply, I totally understand now, thank you a lot ! :) Apr 14 '18 at 17:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .