Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Where on the scale from

We are talking about the same thing

to

We are in agreement / We see it the same way

is the phrase

We are on the same page?

share|improve this question

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I believe the order is, in order of increasing agreement:

  • We are in the same league
  • We are in the same ballpark
  • We are on the same page
  • We are singing from the same song sheet
  • We agree
  • You're preaching to the choir.

BTW, here in the US the most common idiom I hear is "preaching to the choir." However, when I was growing up in the UK, one "sung to the choir," and "preached to the converted." But perhaps my memory is faulty. Any UK people remember it the same way as me?

share|improve this answer
    
As someone who bows to the same Queen I can say that here in Australia I've always preached "to the converted". +1 for a nice list. –  Snubian Sep 1 '11 at 3:17
    
"Preaching to the choir" is slightly pejorative; it's basically saying "stop being a blowhard, i'm convinced, already." "On the same page" is more affirmative, as in "Right -- you're saying exactly what i'm thinking." And yes -- nice list. –  Kyle Pearson Sep 1 '11 at 16:59

To be on the same page means:

thinking in a similar way Louisa said she called the meeting to make sure everybody's on the same page.

Usage notes: usually said about efforts made to solve a problem

The phrase doesn't always require absolute agreement. In the usage sentence given, Louisa is calling the meeting to make sure that everyone is caught up with what's going on. It is used not to say that two people completely agree, but that they are up to date or starting from the same point on something.

share|improve this answer

We're on the same page.

This means "we" are in general agreement. If you and I both agreed that global warming was a serious problem, but disagreed in minor ways about suggested solutions, we might say that we are on the same page.

Much would depend on how the point of contention was framed, however. We could agree that global warming was a serious problem but the issue at hand involved whether wind turbines were good or bad for the environment, say, we could say that we were not on the same page. We might not even be speaking to one another.

share|improve this answer

I would posit that, "On the same page," has become the "modern" (circa 1970 - current) version of this series of idioms simply because of the proliferation of "Talking Points."

The various phrases:

  • in the same league
  • in the same ballpark
  • singing from the same song sheet
  • preaching to the choir
  • preaching to the converted

imply a "progression" based upon other idioms or common experiences currently in use in the vernacular of a particular demographic. All of which mean the same thing -- "We agree." It is possible that this meaning has in fact progressed from "general agreement" to "complete agreement," but "complete agreement" is its meaning today (2014).

"Talking Points" are encountered extensively via the media (Television, including Cable), and their use of "Talking Heads." These "Talking heads" rely upon "Talking Points" during their 3-7 minutes of airtime to convey the "pre-approved" point of view on the given subject.

"Talking points" are used to assure agreement and common response by spokespersons or surrogates to any "political" nor "sensitive" topic. They are used to sell your product, your point of view; no matter if that product is a new widget, a different brand of soap or a political policy position. They are, in fact (if done well) are a one-page list of items, thereby making it easy to be "on the same page."

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.