"The stitches hurt too much not to be tight as a drum"

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    The only possible explanation for why the stitches hurt as much as they do must be that they are very "tight". Which I assume implies the stitches are under considerable tension as they hold the edges of a wound together, and this is very painful. Mar 30, 2020 at 12:40
  • That is not what I asked. I can't understand whether stitches hurt tight as a drum or it doesn't. The writer says "the stitches hurt" and then he says "too much not to be.." Is he tryna tell that it hurts but not as equally as tight as a drum?? Mar 30, 2020 at 13:01
  • Where does it come from? Mar 30, 2020 at 13:03
  • It's from a book Mar 30, 2020 at 13:04
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    @DirtyBomb: I meant that the construction [assertion1] not to be [assertion2] means assertion2 must be valid - otherwise it wouldn't be possible for [assertion1] to be valid. That's to say your writer is asserting that the stitches are "tight as a drum" (and he's claiming he knows this to be true, because only that would explain why they hurt so much). Mar 30, 2020 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


There is a degree of pain which the writer assumes would not be there (i.e. the pain would be less) if the stitches were not as tight as a drum.

The degree of pain is more than that ("too much [not] to"), so the writer concludes that they must indeed be as tight as a drum.

  • Hmm I get it, so is the writer tryna say he knows the scope of pain if the stitches were as tight as a drum but as the stitches are much tighter so is the pain? And do you think this type of construction is highly common in spoken English? Mar 30, 2020 at 13:32
  • "tryna"? What is the meaning of this? Mar 30, 2020 at 14:15
  • trying to= tryna Mar 30, 2020 at 14:52
  • So why didn't you write 'trying to'? Mar 31, 2020 at 12:07
  • @MichaelHarvey: maybe because this is a chatty website, and "tryna" represented their meaning adequately? (I find it hard to believe that you genuinely didn't understand),.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 31, 2020 at 12:28

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