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What's the meaning for "six words away"? I heard it repeatedly in the movie Coach Carter.

Edit: In the scene in a bus, when the coach blasts the team for sneaking out to a party without informing him, he says "you are six words away from getting kicked off the bus" or something like that.

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Can you give us more context than that? –  Kosmonaut Jun 21 '11 at 12:28
    
are you able to remember the context now( I hope you have seen the movie) –  bubble Jun 21 '11 at 12:37
    
@RegDwight thanks for editing. My English is soo poor. Cant help it.. –  bubble Jun 22 '11 at 7:00

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

What actually happens in Coach Carter:

Coach Carter: I end up taking a road trip to the suburbs where I find my drunk ass point guard on top of Daddy's little princess!

Worm: Actually, I was on the bottom, coach. She was on the top.

Coach Carter: Worm, you want to be on the team? Because you're about six words from getting kicked off and kicked off this goddamn bus!

Carter is telling Worm to shut up, because what he just said made things worse. Six is an arbitrary small number, just making the point that Worm is very close to being thrown out of the team. Anything Worm says at this point could be enough to make the coach drop him.

Edit: just to be completely clear, this phrase isn't talking about six literal words, just that it would take dangerously little carelessness on Worm's part to get himself dropped. The general idiom is "N words from undesirable consequence" or "N words away from undesirable consequence", where almost any small number will do for N.

"You are are two words from getting thumped here!"

In the right circumstances the threat can be implied rather than specific:

"One word. Just one word."

The meaning is very similar to the saying, "When in a hole, stop digging." The speaker is generally angry with the person being spoken to, and nothing that person can say with make things any better right now.

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So "six words away" is not a recognizable 'set phrase' in English? Is it used anywhere else? –  Mitch Jun 21 '11 at 13:09
    
Google gives you a few hits. "X words away/from Y" is an well-understood idiom for "It will take very little effort to achieve Y", but any small number will do for X. –  user1579 Jun 21 '11 at 13:44
    
Nice. (never heard it before) google seems to associate it either with religious things, or with the more literal finishing of a crossword puzzle. Can you add an explanation of the idiom to your answer explaining the very particular circumstances of that "six words away" instance? –  Mitch Jun 21 '11 at 13:49
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@Mitch, the important thing to realise is it's an arbitrary number. OK? It is not a common phrase in English. It's just something funny! the screenwriters came up with. You know? Notice it's about six words away. It's just funny - that's all. –  Joe Blow Jun 21 '11 at 21:05
    
@Rhodri accepting yours as correct answer as nothing else seems explaining it. –  bubble Jun 22 '11 at 7:02

The dialogue goes thus:

Coach Carter: I end up taking a road trip to the suburbs where I find my drunk ass point guard on top of Daddy's little princess!

Worm: Actually, I was on the bottom, coach. She was on the top.

Coach Carter: Worm, you want to be on the team? Because you're about six words from getting kicked off

and kicked off this goddamn bus!

Here Coach means you're so close, or rather this close to getting kicked off the team.

He describes this as "six words" (away) from getting kicked off. I cannot find a reference to exactly what the six words are;

I imagine it to be

"Get the hell off this bus" or something similar.

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