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I looked up the phrase "hit home" in the Oxford, Cambridge dictionary, and Webster online dictionaries but I didn't find anything that can help me to understand what this phrase "hit home" means in this context. Could you please help me?

This is a LONG answer — the question hits home on a classic example of the English language’s tendency for exceptions. It causes lots of confusion even for native speakers.

Here is the link to Quora where this phrase comes from

Also, What does the writer mean by e "a classic example of the English language’s tendency for exceptions"?

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"Hit home" or "hit home on" is an idiom. Its original or basic meaning is "to strike the intended target" as of an arrow or other projectile. But it is used in several metaphoric senses. "His words hit home" means that the words had a significant effect on the listener, that the listener took them to heart. It may imply that this was the intended effect, but it need not.

In the given example:

... the question hit home on a classic example of the English language’s tendency for exceptions.

"hit home" mans that the question in a sense "landed on" the example (which no doubt the text goes on to explain). That is, that one cannot answer the question without exploring the example of an exception, because that example is central to the question.

In this instance, I think that 'hit home" is a less than optimal idiom to express the concept. But it is perfectly valid. I might have written:

... the question directly involves a classic example of the English language’s tendency for exceptions.


The OP asks: "What does the writer mean by "a classic example of the English language’s tendency for exceptions?"

English grammar is notorious for being more a collection of exception than a collection of rules. Few absolute rules exist for English usage to which some exception cannot be found. This is partly due to the changes from Old English to Middle English, and then from Middle to Modern English, which were not made with complete consistency. It is partly due to the tendency of English to appropriate vocabulary, sometimes with accompanying grammatical patterns, from other languages. It is partly due to people who have invented and popularized a number of "rules" for English which are nothing of the sort; which do not and never did reflect actual English usage. (Some of these were based on the assumption that the rules of Latin grammar must also apply to English.) And partly it is just the way English usage has developed.

The quoted expression is referring to this tendency. "tendency for exceptions" might better have been expressed as "tendency to generate exceptions" o0r perhaps as "profusion of exceptions". But then Quora answers are often composed on-the-fly, and may not consist of well-polished prose. (Speaking as one who has posted a good many Quora answers.)

In short "a classic example of the English language’s tendency for exceptions?" means simply a classic example, like many others, of an exception to the widely known rules of English Grammar and usage.

  • I wish that whoever thinks this answer is incorrect or unhelpful would say why? I might be able to improve it, and others might learn something. silently downvoting helps no one. – David Siegel Jun 4 at 20:32
  • What does the writer mean by this sentence "a classic example of the English language’s tendency for exceptions"? – Saymyname Jun 6 at 15:23
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    @Saymyname I have copied this comment into the question, and edited my answer to respond to it. In future, please either add such additional questions to the original question, or even better, ask them as new separate but related (and linked) questions. – David Siegel Jun 6 at 16:17
  • Thank you a lot for your great efforts. You are really so helpful. – Saymyname Jun 6 at 20:23
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If something "hits home" means that it is something close to your heart, or that it caused an emotional reaction.

You may feel empathy, you may feel sad, you may relate to it...

For instance, if my dog recently died and I watched the film "Marley and Me" about a family dog who ends up dying, I would be upset and say "that movie really hit home."

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    The reaction need not be emotional, although it often is. A purely intellectual reaction where an argument makes its point vividly cn also be said to hit home. – David Siegel Jun 4 at 20:35

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