From the Godfather movie:

Clemenza: Don Corleone, You once said that the day would come Tessio and me could form out own family. Till today I would never think about it. I must ask your permission.

Don: Michael is now the head of the family. If he gives you permission then you have my blessing.

Michael: After we make the move to Nevada, you can break of from the Corleone family and go on your own.

Clemenza: How long will it be?

Michael: 6 months.

Tessio: Forgive me, Godfather. But with you're gone me and Pete will come under Barzini's thumb sooner or later.

Clemenza: I hate that goddamn Barzini. In six motnths' time there will be nothing left to build on.

I can't find more or less sensical meaning of the emphasized sentence. What he was going to build on? What could it mean in that context?


From the context:

Clemenza and Tessio want to build a new mafia family after Don Corleone and Michael Corleone move to Nevada.

But the current territory is being chiseled, meaning there is no - figuratively speaking - "ground" left to build on.

This passage in the book is using the common metaphor of building a house which needs land (ground) to be built on, meaning there is no base /foundation left to start something new.

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  • So, after that 6 moths Barzini's people take over all their territory so they will be no place to build their families, right? – Dmitrii Bundin Jul 13 '15 at 15:53
  • @DmitryBundin, right. In six moths the opponents will have taken over. – Stephie Jul 13 '15 at 16:04
  • Got it, thank you. BTW, why fif you use future perfect in the will have taken over. Why didn't just future simple sound fine? – Dmitrii Bundin Jul 13 '15 at 16:29
  • Because they have already started the process and in six moths the process will be already complete - otherwise they would take over at a certain point six months in the future. Like: On <date> <politician A, future president> will take over from <politician B, current president>. – Stephie Jul 13 '15 at 16:32

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