For example, I'm sure you've heard people say this as a response:

I've got just the thing.

I couldn't determine this, having done my own research. What would be a better substitute for that sentence?


(Person 1) I've been feeling a bit down lately. (Person 2) I've got just the thing.

  • Define "colloquial". It's informal (you probably wouldn't use it in your thesis, for example, and it would never appear in a legal text). It's also idiomatic, in that the meaning isn't clear from just the words themselves (unless you really did want to say that all you have is one specific "thing" already contextually identified). As for a suitable replacement, we'd need more context to address that. – FumbleFingers Aug 11 '16 at 16:55
  • What's wrong with what you have? There is nothing informal about it. It is spoken language, as is your first sentence: I've been feeling a bit down lately....these are STANDARD spoken sentences in English. – Lambie Aug 11 '16 at 17:11
  • No, it is not colloquial. In response to your first statement (I've been feeling etc.), it is standard spoken, idiomatic English. Just like the first spoken utterance. It is also standard spoken, idiomatic English. There is nothing colloquial about it. – Lambie Aug 11 '16 at 17:15

The expression is informal even though no dictionary refers to it as such:

"Exactly what you need" is a possible alternative:

Just the thing:

  • exactly what is needed:
    • A week's rest would be just the thing for her.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Just the thing:

  • If you say that something is just the thing or is the very thing, you are emphasizing that it is exactly what is wanted or needed. [emphasis] [+ for] ⇒ Kiwi fruit are just the thing for a healthy snack. ⇒ I know the very thing to cheer you up.

(Collins Dictionary)

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