4

Arthur: So, once we've made the plant, how do we get out? I'm hoping you have something more elegant in mind than shooting me in the head?

Cobb: A kick.

Ariadne: What's a kick?

Eames: This, Ariadne, would be a kick. [kicks Arthur's chair; Arthur flails but manages to right himself]

Cobb: It's that feeling of falling that jolts you awake. It snaps you out of the dream.

Arthur: Are we going to feel a kick with this kind of sedation?

Yusuf: Well, that's the clever part. I customize the sedative to leave inner ear function unimpaired. That way, however deep the sleep, the sleeper still feels falling, or tipping.

I want to understand the sentence starting with That way. This is the meaning provided by The Oxford Dictionary, but it seems totally nonsensical to me. There's no any homosexual context in Inception, I'm a little confused.

  • @FumbleFingers Doesn't This is contracted to This's? Is it gramatically wrong? – Dmitrii Bundin Nov 1 '14 at 3:34
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    It's not so much a matter of grammar as of phonology. If the possessive apostrophe is used in something like St James's Park, it it's pronounced -iz. It has to be "voiced", because you can't enunciate two consecutive unvoiced /s/ sounds). By the same token it's not possible to avoid voicing the second /s/ in this is, so it doesn't make sense to replace the written (voiced) i with an apostrophe. – FumbleFingers Nov 1 '14 at 14:45
12

This is using the word way to mean "method or means to achieve a goal." That at the beginning of the sentence is directing our attention to the method just described. In this case, "that way" means "customizing a sedative to leave inner ear function unimpaired."

Example: I tied my shoes tightly every morning. That way I don't trip when I walk down the street. (That way = By tying my shoes tightly)

Example: Bill Gates lives in a luxurious mansion and is able to buy anything he wants without considering the price. I would love to live that way. (that way = in the manner that Bill Gates lives)

The usage that the Oxford Dictionary suggests is not common in US English at all. If you used that phrase it's possible that the listener might understand you, but it's also possible that he or she would have no idea what you meant.

  • 6
    I don't think OP's OxfordDictionaries euphemistic usage was ever that common in BrE either. And if you said "He's a bit that way" today, many people (esp. those under 40) would probably come back with "A bit what way?". It could in any case just as easily be used in reference to any context-relevant proclivity (perhaps you're lamenting the fact that some people swear more than you think they should, and he's a typical example). It might also be used (with no specific context) to mean a bit mentally unstable/soft in the head/etc. – FumbleFingers Oct 31 '14 at 21:11
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    "He's that way inclined" or "A bit that way" would likely be understood by young BritisH English speakers, although I'd agree that most under middle age are unlikely to use it. – Jon Story Oct 31 '14 at 23:24
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    @Jon Story I'm a Briton under middle age and I'd certainly understand "He's that way inclined" or "A bit that way". Usually it's spoken and not written though, and it usually comes with a gesture of some kind. I'm not certain but it might be more of a northern thing or a londoner thing, it definately feels like it probably started as an area-local colloquialism. Either way, +1 for good examples in the answer. – Pharap Nov 1 '14 at 1:52
  • I couldn't say for sure whether it's common in the south, but I've heard it in the North. It's uncommon, and I think it's becoming rarer as it becomes more acceptable to point out that someone is gay without it having a negative connotation. Perhaps this is becoming more of a social discussion than a linguistic one though :) – Jon Story Nov 1 '14 at 2:07
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This is just using 'way' in a very common way :-), but shortened from "in that way" to "that way". It means "in that manner", or "using that method".

To quote the first noun entry on 'way' in the Oxford Dictionary:

"A method, style, or manner of doing something; an optional or alternative form of action:

'I hated their way of cooking potatoes'

'there are two ways of approaching this problem'"

-1

Oooh, I'm sorry. I thought you were "one of those" .... ..Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer

Adding "inclined" does help with the disambiguation, as it can also mean disabled, crippled or distraught. "I canna bear to see her that way".

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