I encountered this phrase in a technical book. The surroundings are:

If your goals are measurable (as they should be), you can establish baselines. Run tests to find out where you currently stand with regard to the metrics for your goals.

Can any body tell me What the word stand means here, and what is the meaning of the whole phrase?

closed as general reference by tchrist, MetaEd, user11550, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Cameron Aug 27 '12 at 22:13

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • For a question like this, it makes sense to provide the name of the book, and (if possible) a link to online text. I might downvote because that information is missing from the question; if you edit title, link, and a little more context into the question, I'll be less likely to do so. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 26 '12 at 8:04
  • Please have a read of our guidelines on meaning questions and edit your question as appropriate. – Matt E. Эллен Sep 5 '12 at 10:26

In this context, the meaning is almost literally the way it sounds: Where are you standing? What is your position? What is your position in terms of your goals?

In a physical real world example, if you stood (were standing) in the middle of a room between the door you came in and the door that you wished to leave from, you would stand 50% towards your goal.

When they say with regard to the metrics of your goals, it just means that your goals are measurable. If you were halfway through a series of test cases of some technical matter, and someone were to ask you, "where do we stand in terms of test cases?" You could answer, "we're 50% of the way through."

It really does just mean some measurement of position. So to correctly substitute into your quote:

If your goals are measurable (as they should be), you can establish baselines. Run tests to find out how far you have progressed with regard to the metrics for your goals.

Although it doesn't apply to your particular case, the use of the word 'stand' can also be used less literally, but it still relates to position, even if it is more conceptual. For example, someone could ask, "where do you stand with respect to politics?" Although a bit more metaphorical or abstract it essentially means the same as before: 'what is your position?' You could answer, "I'm a republican", or "I'm a democrat", or "I'm a liberal." You could also say "I stand for equal rights for women," meaning you position yourself on the side favouring equal rights for women. You can even say, "I stand by my friend," meaning that whatever the circumstance, I will be by my friend to help regardless. You can even stand 'by your word', meaning you believe that between truth and lie, you stand beside the truth.

  • ha ha... if you forgive me for being pedantic, but "you 'get' the meaning now." e.g. I get the meaning now (leave the 'fully' out unless you use the more proper expression, "I fully understand the meaning, now." :) Good luck. You speak better English than I do of any other language besides English. – Bill Rosmus Aug 8 '12 at 6:40
  • +1 good answer (though it doesn't explain the "with regard to" part) – JAM Aug 8 '12 at 13:59
  • @JAM in this context, the phrase 'with regard to' is interchangeable with 'with respect to'. In accents the idea of position. It implies you are comparing where you stand relative to the goal. So in this respect, you could also substitute the phrase, 'where you stand relative to your goals.' They all work. – Bill Rosmus Aug 8 '12 at 16:39

With regard to means "concerning" or "about."

The other expression in this sentence is "where you... stand." This is a little trickier. You could try this definition of stand: "To be positioned to gain or lose." So in other words, "where you ... stand" would mean something like, "whether you are positioned to gain or lose."

Let's revisit the whole sentence:

If your goals are measurable (as they should be), you can establish baselines. Run tests to find out whether you expect to gain or lose concerning the metrics for your goals.

Of course, the meaning of "where you stand" might be a little broader than gaining or losing. It is difficult to say without seeing a little more context.

  • Thanks for your answer! I am not good English, I seems like mistaked the structure of the sentence. – Liu Aug 8 '12 at 3:22
  • I can see how it would be difficult to interpret the two words/expressions when they're right next to each other like that. I hope the answer helped. – JAM Aug 8 '12 at 3:25
  • I can't help but be blunt here. This answer is simply wrong. See my answer for explanation. – Bill Rosmus Aug 8 '12 at 4:36
  • JAM, your interpretation of «where you currently stand with regard to» as «whether you expect to gain or lose concerning» might not make sense. The issue appears to be whether one is close to or far from some goals. (I'm interpreting phrase «the metrics for your goals» as actually meaning «your goals».) – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 26 '12 at 7:55

There are two ancient (literally - one root is Latin, the other Frankish) metaphors here.

One is "where you stand", which is where you are located or situated - your "situation", metaphorically extended from your physical to your mathematical location.

The other is "regard", which derives from a word meaning "protect", hence "watch over"; so "with regard to" means "with a look at" - the same metaphor lies behind "with respect to", derived from a Latin root meaning "see".

So: Run tests and look at your metrics to find out what your situation is.

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