In a world where you can tell the rich from the poor by their Internet connections, the poverty line trip over the high-speed-digital line.

This line is from a grammar book, what I want to know is the usage of trip over here, it's a multiple choice question and the key says that trip over is the right answer, I got the answer but I don't know what does this sentence mean.

  • 1
    Assuming that you have quoted this accurately, I fear there may be an error in the book, because "poverty line" is a singular noun and should be followed by a singular verb "trips over".
    – rjpond
    Oct 7, 2021 at 23:04
  • @rjpond Even allowing for that, it doesn't make sense to me. Oct 8, 2021 at 2:58
  • Are they perhaps making some kind of graph metaphor? The line showing numbers of people with access to high-speed internet cross over the line of people living in poverty? Oct 8, 2021 at 17:54
  • The poor might trip over either of those lines, but it makes no sense --even metaphorically-- for the poverty line itself to trip over anything
    – gotube
    Nov 8, 2021 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


It should be "trips", as "poverty line is singular.

The meaning seems to be a complex metaphor. "The poverty line" is the level of income below which you are officially "poor".

In the UK, millions of people are still below the poverty line.

But "high-speed-digital line" is a physical wire or fibre that connect you to the internet.

To "trip over" means catch your foot on something and stumble or fall.

Literally the sentence is impossible (a poverty line isn't something that can trip). So here it must reference to "people who are poor". The "digital line" represents "access to the internet" and "trip over" represents "fail to do something smoothly and easily"

So the metaphor means "people who are poor find it difficult to access the internet".

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