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I have found a phrase here:

... it doesn't make much of a case for itself in ...

Obviously, it is some negative remark. Probably, it is a combination of two expressions, but I can't divide them separately and for all my attempts I can't find their meanings.

Could you please help me and tell me what phrases are combined here, and what they mean separately and all together?

Also, is the phrase correct?

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General reference? – Andrew Leach Jun 21 '13 at 20:56
I am sorry, but the meanings from that good and useful dictionary, are useless for that very case. At least, as I see it. Maybe, the phrase is simply incorrect? – Gangnus Jun 21 '13 at 21:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The phrase is definitely correct idiomatic usage.

To make a case for something, when something is a noun (or pronoun), is to provide good reasons why the named thing should be considered for use at whatever tasks that thing is normally used for.

You could consider it to be a shortened form of make a case for you to purchase something.

If the device in question "doesn't make much of a case for itself", then it is failing to provide any compelling reasons for you to purchase and use it instead of one of the available alternatives; we can presume that its competitors are more capable, or cheaper, or easier to use, or better-looking, or some combination of those.

Edit to add: In particular, the "for itself" is appropriate because a salesperson could "make a case for the phone" by explaining its benefits and features to you. In the absence of a salesperson, the phone has to have enough features and benefits that you can discover without assistance: the phone has to sell itself, or "make a case for itself".

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According to that understanding, the words "for itself" are excessive? Something as "dry dryness". And it is NOT a correct phrase usage. – Gangnus Jun 22 '13 at 9:51
Not at all. I, as a salesperson, can "make a case for" the phone by explaining its benefits and features to you. In the absence of a salesperson, the phone has to have enough features and benefits that you can discover without assistance: the phone has to sell itself, or "make a case for" itself. – Hellion Jun 22 '13 at 16:12
Could I ask you to add your comment to the answer, please (without "not at all", of course)? – Gangnus Oct 2 '13 at 16:29
@Gangnus sure, no problem. – Hellion Oct 2 '13 at 16:35
Sorry for marking the answer so late :-) – Gangnus Apr 29 at 7:50

The phrase is fine, although I'm not a fan of hi-tech toys and the various statistics in the article leave my head spinning, the author of the review is comprehensible. Andrew Leach is correct by pointing you to read carefully the definition of: make a case for. What the dictionary says, is what is meant in the article.

  • based on the legal meaning of make a case (to show that what you say is true)

It is as though the new smart phone/tablet (whatever) has to justify its existence in the ever growing, saturated, market of smart phones. It is the defendant defending itself, and in order to convince the jury (the consumers) to let him free (figuratively speaking) he puts forward his case.

According to the reviewer the defence is weak; doesn't make much of a case, thereby claiming there are better candidates which are more deserving to remain in the market.

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Thank you. But that is my problem: if "make a case" means to justify the existence, the words "for itself" after it are simply excessive, it only partly repeats the meaning of the previous phrase, the meaning "for itself" is already included in the "make a case" meaning? I thought that if the whole phrase is correct, that addition brings some additional information, some new meaning. – Gangnus Jun 22 '13 at 9:47
The smartphone is a device, we use the pronoun "it", I admit that I later changed the pronoun to "him", because I feared too many "its" would sound pretty awful. But lets put forward the case that it is possible to change the subject and the object. Thus I can say: Julia (She) made the case that John's (his) cooking was not always a success with friends and family, so she insisted on their going to a restaurant. – Mari-Lou A Jun 22 '13 at 13:36

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