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I'm watching Disney Sitcom "Good Luck Charlie" and there's episode about family's future. old charlie came back in time machine and talk to baby charlie about future. and I can't understand this conversation.

BABY: What's Gabe(charlie's older brother) doing?

OLD: eight to 10

There's no related conversation front and back of this dialogue. Audiences just laughed at this. I can't find any more context to this.

Does doing 8 to 10 mean something special?

I googled it and some people talking about years, hours. I can't find any idioms. Does it mean he works 8 to 10 hours? or is he doing time in jail?

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  • Did you hear it correctly? Where did you get the subtitles from? I don't understand that convo. Were they be talking about Gabe's shift?
    – Void
    May 13 at 13:56
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    this is the script of that episode. it sounds like script to me. it's on very end of this page. transcripts.fandom.com/wiki/Futuredrama
    – eslnl
    May 13 at 14:01
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    It sounds very much like a US prison sentence. Often a convicted criminal in that country is sentenced to a period of imprisonment with a minimum and maximum length, serving the shorter time if of good behaviour, willing to undergo rehabilitation, shows remorse, etc, and the longer time otherwise. People in the underworld might casually say someone is 'doing eight to ten' if they are serving a prison sentence of eight to ten years. It's a joke based on this double meaning of 'doing'. May 13 at 14:09
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This means that the brother has been sent to jail for "8 to 10 years" This kind of sentence means that there is a minimum and a maximum sentence.

The phrasing is a joke. We say "He is doing time in jail" or "He is doing 8 to 10 years in jail". But we wouldn't expect the answer to "What is he doing?" to he "He is doing 8 to 10." The unexpected reply is the joke.

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There is a slang that spending time in prison is "doing time".

In this case, someone is answering "What is Charlie doing?" with a play on words. Normally, if one uses slang, they would use the whole answer:

He is doing eight to ten years of time.

But since the "doing" was just said by the asker, the response was shortened to

Eight to Ten.

There are a few other contexts where calling out two numbers (as times) implies something that's not said, the second major example is working hours.

Nine to Five
Eight to Four
Ten to Six

Most of these examples can be detected by having somewhere between eight and ten hours in difference. "Eight to Ten" would have two hours of difference or fourteen hours of difference, neither of which are common work day lengths.

Finally, (thank you SoronelHaetir) there is another "number to number" word pattern, which specifies minutes to a specific hour. So "five to ten" would be 9:55 if it was clear that the context was in telling the time.

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  • The other common use of <number> to <number> is when specifying a time ("what time is it?" "ten to five"), although that will usually be rounded to nearest ten or fifteen minute interval even if it actually is 9:52. May 13 at 21:00

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