I was watching a movie and heard the line "Not if you've done it before, it isn't." and it just confused the crap out of me. I'm not used to this phrase. What can it possibly mean?

  • 2
    It's quite sufficient just to be confused without being driven to diarrhoea. Nov 7, 2020 at 19:02
  • We need more context. In particular "done it" and "it isn't" refers to something outside the sentence. We also need the source of this quote.. Please don't quote unless you can also tell us exactly where you read or heard this. What movie were you watching?
    – James K
    Nov 7, 2020 at 19:04
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    Example dialogue: Alice says "That looks like a difficult job". Bob says "Not if you've done it before, it isn't." Alice says "I remember you now, you helped my brother, so you already know how to do the job." Nov 7, 2020 at 19:18
  • 1
    The sentence is clearly a reply to a remark by someone else in the movie. Please give us the previous line of dialog so we don't have to invent stuff. Nov 7, 2020 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


It's hard to explain this fully, without a little more context, but @WeatherVane has done a good job of showing a simple, common example.

To a native speaker, it is very clear that this phrase is a retort to someone saying that a particular task is difficult. The basic answer is therefore: "No, it isn't" but then this has been expanded upon, not at the end as you might expect, but in the middle.

To rewrite this, as a stand alone, positive phrase, we would have: " is easy if you've done it before."

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