Having the following sentence: "One drunken punch-up too many saw him meet his maker", could you please explain to me what is what in this sentence(object, subject etc.)? Because while I get the overall meaning of the sentence I don't get how it is constructed. Especially I don't understand what "too many" is doing there.

  • To editors: if you fix some grammar don't change the meaning. And do not put quotation where it doesn't belong.
    – ixSci
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 10:18

1 Answer 1


One drunken punch-up too many saw him meet his maker

The main verb in this sentence is see in this context it means to be the time or place when something happens. The link provides an example showing how it can be used in this way, with something (not a person) seeing an event.

The subject is one drunken punch-up too many. This suggests that this person regularly gets into fights when drunk, and this particular fight was one too many.

This expression is normally used about alcohol: the implication is that if you drink a sensible amount, everything is fine, but one too many results in a hangover, bad behaviour, etc.

We can see why it was one fight too many when we look at the object: it saw him meet his maker. This is an idiom meaning to die: literally it means to meet God, which is supposed to happen when you die.

  • So in this case "too many" serves as an intensification and if we omit it the sentence will still be perfectly fine, right? But having it there underlines that this particular fight was too much for him to outlive it? And if we remove "too many" will mean that it was just one of the usual(perfectly ordinary) fights that got him killed, right?
    – ixSci
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 8:38
  • 1
    one too many suggests that this person was a habitual fighter. If you remove it, it gives no information about whether he had ever been in a fight before.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 8:52
  • Sorry, but I don't get it. In the answer you say that this particular fight was "one too many", but in the comment you imply that "one too many" indicates its repetitiveness and not its uniqueness(particularness). Which is right? Could you please elaborate on it more?
    – ixSci
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 10:23
  • 1
    If the lifeboat holds at most ten people, but there are eleven passengers, there is "one (passenger) too many". If there are a dozen passengers, there are "two passengers too many". If a man frequently gets into fights, and one day he gets beaten so badly that he dies from his injuries, it can be said that he had "one fight too many". It really only works when the circumstances admit a plural (fights, passengers, drinks). It would be comical to say "he stood in front of one firing squad too many" or "he bared his neck to one guillotine too many".
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 12:18
  • @ixSci: the sentence is very carefully worded: it emphasises both the repetitiveness of previous fights and the uniqueness of this particular fight- his last.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 12:36

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