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What does this phrase mean?

  • I'm catching a 4:00 at Logan

Does it mean "I'm taking off a 4 o'clock"?

This is coming from the movie "Scent of Woman". Al Pacino's sentence:

"…but I'm catching a 4:00 at Logan, I'm looking out my window, and there's not a taxi in sight."

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    Big difference, in the title you wrote at 4.00 but in the quote it's a 4.00, the latter makes greater sense. A 4.00 means "I' m catching (getting) a four o'clock train (or bus)" Can you please correct eith the title of the quotation, thanks. BTW I retracted my downvote and my vote to close the question, so thanks for co-operating with us! :) – Mari-Lou A Jul 2 '17 at 18:26
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    You're doing it much better now. Please, next time, don't post an isolated sentence without context and without telling us where you found this phrase. Your question is much better than it was an hour ago. So, thank you. P.S There were a few typos in my earlier comment. It should be: "eithER the title OR the quotation.." PPS I'm not a man, so you can just say "Thank you Mari-Lou" There's no need for excessive formality on this website, but thank you all the same. – Mari-Lou A Jul 2 '17 at 18:34
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    I'm not sure about the idiomaticity of 'I'm catching a 4:00 at Logan', but this might be a US / UK difference. 'I'm catching the 4:00 from Logan', on the other hand, sounds highly idiomatic. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 2 '17 at 18:51
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    We label specific trains etc with their time of departure, and the start point or destination (the 4:50 from Paddington). They do this in the US also (the 3:10 to Yuma). Whether 'a 3:10 from Philadelphia' sounds acceptable in the States, I wouldn't know. But it sounds outlandish in the UK. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 2 '17 at 19:25
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    @Xanne he said 4 o'clock – malani4enko Jul 3 '17 at 6:31
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Logan is an airport in Boston.

"A 4:00" means a 4:00 flight. That style of reference is often used for "commuter" flights, which go a particular route at a scheduled regular interval, e.g., every hour on the hour during certain parts of the day. So "catching a 4:00" refers to planning to take the one scheduled to leave at 4:00.

He's relying on a taxi to get him to the airport. He's looking out the window and there isn't one, so he's concerned about how he will get to the airport in time for his flight.

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    I've encountered the referring to a flight by it's time even without it being a commuter flight. The style is used when the important aspect is when it's leaving, not where it's going. – Loren Pechtel Jul 2 '17 at 22:22
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    @LorenPechtel In my experience, this type of phrase would be used for non-regular transport. If the transport always occurred at that time, then I would expect to hear "I'm catching the 4:00 at Logan". – SGR Jul 3 '17 at 13:27
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    @SGR One would generally use a simply because the average person doesn’t fly so often that they are aware of the regular schedule. They know their flight is at 4; they don’t give much thought to whether or not this is a daily thing. Also, you would also use a even if you knew the flight was every day at 4 in the case where there are multiple flights at 4 every day (say, one from each of several major carriers, or one going to each of several destinations, or...). In short, the would be unusual for this context. – KRyan Jul 3 '17 at 16:33
  • I don't think it's that unusual to hear "the" in this context, especially with regularly-scheduled transport such as commuter trains or shuttle flights. "I'm catching the 4pm shuttle" or "I'll be on the 6:30 train." Without any evidence for this usage, my gut feeling is that the use of "the" sometimes implies a certain familiarity with the schedule, such as someone who flies the route frequently and knows the flight numbers and times by heart—it's little signal the person is in the know and a frequent traveler here. Either "the" or "a" could be appropriate in this context though. – Zach Lipton Jul 4 '17 at 0:11
  • @SGR You would use "the" if there was a singular transport at that time. However, the context is an airport--lots of flights and you almost certainly don't know the time of most of them. Thus using "the" implies a uniqueness that you don't know. "A" is more appropriate. – Loren Pechtel Jul 4 '17 at 0:21
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"I'm catching at 4:00" sounds like they're leaving on transport of some kind at 4:00. In context it probably makes more sense, and it sounds like you're inferring that they're catching their flight at 4:00.

But it's kind of weird to say it that way. It would have made more sense to say, "I'm catching a ride to the airport at 4:00," or, like I mentioned above, "I'm catching my flight at 4:00."

This answer gives a good explanation of "catching"/"taking" transport.

  • this is Al Pacino's words from the movie "Scent of Woman". – malani4enko Jul 2 '17 at 18:09
  • That's context. It would have helped to know this in your question. – celestialroad Jul 2 '17 at 18:13
  • 'It would have made more sense to say..."I'm catching my flight at 4:00."': no, it wouldn't, as when talking about scheduled transport, it is more common to say, "The 15:57 flight from A to B", or "the 16:00 train to C", where the indicated times are the departure times. – Steve Melnikoff Jul 3 '17 at 12:49
  • I submitted my answer before the user provided the full context of the question. – celestialroad Jul 7 '17 at 21:49

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