Here is a sentence from the Rework book written by Jason Fred:

"When you're really tired, it always seems easier to plow down whatever bad path you happen to be on instead of reconsidering the route.

But I don't know what does you happen to be on" mean? Can somebody help please?

closed as off-topic by user66974, Janus Bahs Jacquet, Nicole, Drew, Chenmunka Feb 27 '15 at 18:21

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    the path you are walking on by chance! To happen: (tr) to chance (to be or do something): I happen to know him.thefreedictionary.com/happen – user66974 Feb 27 '15 at 9:53
  • I know the mean of happen. I don't know what does it mean here? – Hamed Ghaderi Feb 27 '15 at 9:56
  • 1
    the path you are walking on by chance! 'whatever bad path you happen to be on' = 'whatever bad path it transpires that you are travelling along' – Edwin Ashworth Feb 27 '15 at 10:01
  • You can also happen upon something, which means to encounter something by chance. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/… (I'd suggest 'happen upon' is more common than 'happen on') – Robin Williams Feb 27 '15 at 11:37
  • 1
    @RobinWilliams:I don't want to seem unkind, but when somebody is having difficulty understanding a sentence, how is it helpful to mention a different usage of a word in it? – Colin Fine Feb 27 '15 at 12:26

The difference between "whatever path you are on" and "whatever path you happen to be on" is that the second implies a certain degree of chance or randomness -- ie, it's acknowledging that the "path" you're on might be the wrong one.

"Whatever path you are on" of course doesn't deny that you could be on the wrong path, but it doesn't call it into question either.


Take Whatever path you are on, and replace are by happen to be. Does that help?

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