A friend is telling you a fabulous story but finishes his account with the phrase “and then some.” What does he mean? Is it correct to say “and then some”? How should you use it?
It is correct to use “and then some” when you want to show that a statement or resaying it is an understatement. For example, a person may say, “We got what we paid for and then some,” meaning they got much more than expected. “And then some” is an idiom we primarily use in informal spoken contexts.
We will discuss how to use the idiom “and then some,” including when you should use it. We will also give examples of situations in which you should avoid this phrase. You will also learn the best way to use idioms such as “and then some” so you sound like a native speaker.
What Does “And Then Some” Mean?
The phrase “and then some” literally means “and a lot more than that” (source). We use this idiom to refer to an amount beyond the stated amount. You do not have to use it with countable nouns because it does not refer to a quantity. It simply means “plus plenty more.”
We use “and then some” to emphasize that there is more than stated. For example, if we are discussing whether an event or experience is worth the cost and has value for our listeners, we might use “and then some” to tell them how great it is. “You’ll gain tips, insights, resources, and then some!” means the listener will get more than he expects from a particular event.
If you hear someone say “and then some,” you can understand that there is much more they gained from something. Perhaps they do not have specific details or numbers to convince you but use “and then some” at the end to show that there is more than what they could explain accurately.
“And then some” usually shows that something is understated. We do not normally use it to exaggerate the amount of something but to point out that the numbers or quantified amounts already listed do not cover absolutely everything.
How Do You Use “And Then Some”?
In informal settings, we use “and then some” at the end of a sentence near the end of the account we describe. Thus, “and then some” will usually be the last statement in the story.
So, for example, after listing the fantastic perks we received for the price we paid, we would say we got to do everything we wanted on the trip “and then some.”
When we use “and then some,” we are saying that the truth is actually “and more than that” (source). In informal conversations or written story-telling, “and then some” is a great way to show that there is more to the account than we are telling. The phrase indicates that we are understating the truth.
You may use “and then some” for different reasons. For example, perhaps you want to communicate how fantastic something was, but you don’t have the time to be specific. Or you might have the time but not know the exact numbers.
These are great opportunities to use “and then some” to communicate that there is so much more to tell!
When you use a phrase such as “and then some,” knowing where to place it in a sentence may confuse you. Should you use a comma or not? Also, where should you place “and then some” in a sentence?
When Can You Use “And Then Some”?
You can use “and then some” when you want to exaggerate the meaning of your statement. It shows there is much more than what you said or that you made an understatement of the facts. You will usually use this phrase at the end of the last sentence in your story.
Opportunities to use this phrase will spring up daily if you look carefully for them. You might say, for instance, that the car was “fast and then some” to say that it was much faster than you expected it to be. Or you might say that a friend was “fit and then some” to show that she works out and is obviously healthy.
You can even understate a negative characteristic, using “and then some” to show how much more awful something is. Perhaps a friend is “tired and then some,” or you’re “frustrated and then some” at your current job. The meaning remains the same.
“And then some” shows that there is more to the statement than what you have said.
In What Context Can You Use “And Then Some”?
The context for using “and then some” comes with a few limits. First, because it is an idiom, you should limit this phrase to less formal situations that allow you to use an expression. Secondly, you should use it only where an exaggeration or understatement is appropriate.
In the first case, you will find that idioms can convey shades of meaning beyond the words we state. English First tells us that “common idioms and expressions will make your English sound more native” (source). For this reason, many English learners strive to incorporate a few idioms into their daily speech.
Secondly, the phrase “and then some” implies a specific type of imprecise measurement. It is not just a statement of extra, but specifically, a statement in which you suggest there is more than you stated. When I say “and then some,” I am explaining that there is more beyond what I stated.
Finally, you might use “and then some” to tell your family about an experience you had, in which you learned a lot, “and then some” or had so much fun “and then some!”
You can also use this phrase to convince a friend that a specific purchase has benefits beyond what they can imagine. Therefore, it is worth their time or money, “and then some.”
Using “And Then Some” in a Full Sentence
We generally place “and then some” at the end of a sentence. Usually, when making the final statement in a story, your conclusion will end with “and then some.” You should not use this phrase earlier in the sentence or the account.
Consider the examples below:
- She won the race by four seconds. She broke the world record and then some!
- He fell from his horse during the second event. He hurt himself and then some.
- She found out about the surprise party. Her friends were surprised and then some.
- We got our money’s worth and then some.
You’ll notice that these examples are each written in informal language, as you would use in conversation or informal writing, and that you would place the phrase “and then some” at the end of the sentence. This is because we designed these examples to end the story.
We do not follow “and then some” with a comma because it is not a clause; it doesn’t have a verb and a subject. To read more about comma usage with idioms, read Including but not Limited to: Meaning, Punctuation, and Usage.
Written examples of the proper usage of “and then some” are rare. A simple search of online news sources will show you that formal news outlets avoid this and other idioms.
You are more likely to hear this phrase in conversations with others or in the dialogue you read in a novel. As you see more examples, you will be more comfortable working it into your own language patterns.
When Not to Use “And Then Some”
Because “and then some” is an idiom, you should mainly reserve it for informal contexts. Further, use this phrase only in those situations in which the listener or reader is familiar with idioms in the English language. Finally, you should avoid it where precision is preferred.
Also, avoid using “and then some” too early in your story. It should be toward the end to emphasize that the conclusion you are drawing is an understatement. If you use it earlier, you might undermine the meaning of your statement or confuse your listener.
There is no place for “and then some” in academic, legal, and research writing because it is an imprecise idiom. Such contexts require exact measurements and wording, so avoid using “and then some” in them.
What Can You Use Instead of “And Then Some”?
If you want to avoid using “and then some,” several alternatives are available. You can use other idioms with a similar meaning, such as “to say the least” or “putting it mildly.” Or you can clearly state the exaggeration or understatement by saying, “[it] is an understatement.”
You will still need to apply correct punctuation if you choose to use a different idiom. Many idioms use the same punctuation and placement in every instance, so you are ready to go once you memorize the rules. You will only use “and then some” at the end of the sentence.
If you’re trying to use an idiom in a different part of the sentence, you may use the other examples given, such as “to say the least” or “putting it mildly” in various positions within the sentence. The flow might not be ideal, but you can move them around within the sentence.
Sometimes, you may want to use more precise language because your audience may be unfamiliar with English idioms. Both of these contexts provide an opportunity for you to clearly state a quantity or make an understatement.
In academic writing, you can simply say, “The criminal was apprehended with multiple weapons,” instead of saying, “The criminal had a gun and then some.”
If your audience is not familiar with English idioms, the second, more clear statement is preferable. If the precise information is unavailable, you can always say, “This is an understatement,” instead of saying, “and then some.”
Phrases and Idioms
Phrases are words that function together as a unit, and we come across them in almost every English sentence. Sometimes, they are also idioms, which means they have a figurative meaning, are different from the literal definition of the phrase, and are broadly understood.
The phrase “and then some” is an idiom because the listener cannot literally translate the phrase without changing its meaning.
If you can translate a phrase literally, it is not considered an idiom (source). For instance, if I say, “I’m going to call it a night,” I don’t mean that I’m going to call “it” a “night.” I actually mean I am going to leave the party, retire to bed, or go to sleep. Therefore, this idiom does not have a literal meaning.
You can use idioms freely in informal conversations, especially with peers. But remember to limit the number of idioms in your writing or more formal discussions. One or two might be appropriate, but you can confuse your listener if you are adding too many metaphors or idioms to your sentences.
The most important rule is that idioms can enhance your speech by making you seem relatable. But they can detract from your meaning when you overuse or misuse them. Therefore, you must get the most bang for your buck out of any specific phrase or idiom.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Idioms are less appropriate in some business and formal contexts where precision is necessary. You should avoid using expressions in academic writing because they are imprecise and can confuse a less familiar reader with English slang (source).
These examples should help you know how and when to use the phrase “and then some.” You’ve also learned the phrase’s definition and some alternatives that you can use in more formal settings or when one idiom is preferable to another.
“And then some” is a colorful phrase that has the potential to add shades of meaning to your speech and writing. Watch and listen for others around you to use this phrase so that you can apply it in your conversations. As you learn more about the English language idioms, you will find plenty of opportunities to use this phrase and then some!