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Is it correct to say "first rate hobby"? Is it "first rank hobby" or anything?

"Diving became my first rate hobby, and it seemed like my 24 hours of days passed in the ocean."

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In this case unfortunately neither term works. I would say "Diving became my main hobby" or "primary hobby."

For the second half of the sentence, more idiomatically would be "and it seemed like I spent 24 hours a day in the ocean."

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    I'd still be skeptical using 24 hr a day... 24 hr comprises day+night! :P – Maulik V Sep 4 '15 at 10:31
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    it's used as in idiom (at least in US English) to mean "as much as possible" or "more often that you would think possible." It's a hyperbole. Saying "It seemed like I spent 12 hours a day in the ocean" implies around 12 hours each day. "24 hours a day in the ocean" implies anywhere from twice a week for an hour to 18 hrs a day. – Michael Scott Cuthbert Sep 4 '15 at 10:34
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    but I spend 24 hours a day on the internet, so maybe my language is skewed. :-) – Michael Scott Cuthbert Sep 4 '15 at 10:34
  • hey, it was just for fun! – Maulik V Sep 4 '15 at 10:36
  • :-) I liked it, that's why I upvoted the comment! – Michael Scott Cuthbert Sep 4 '15 at 10:38
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I completely agree with Michael Scott Cuthbert.

I just wanted to add that describing something as "first rate" doesn't fit well here, but it is an expression we use in a different way. It's used to mean that something is among the very best of its kind, so it would not mean the same thing you are saying, but it would make perfect sense to say that diving is a first rate hobby.

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