One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Reach a bad or regrettable state of affairs.
- ‘If we can't settle our economic differences by truly free economic bargaining without damaging seriously the United States, then we have come to a pretty pass.’
- ‘According to the Good Doctor, things have come to a pretty pass.’
- ‘Things have come to a pretty pass when a Guardian columnist has to advise the Tory party not to panic.’
- ‘‘If a 79-year-old married couple cannot feel safe in their home then this country is coming to a pretty pass,’ he said.’
- ‘While any theatre festival should resist parochialism and embrace the international, the paucity of domestic productions, much less any new Irish writing, suggests things have come to a pretty pass for Irish theatre.’
- ‘Pity about the Lions as well, as I have said before, this time last year perhaps, it comes to a pretty pass when I have to rely on the England cricket team for some sporting success…’
- ‘We have come to a pretty pass when Scotland's chief quango is pilloried, just because it has forgotten to apply for £32m due to it (or, rather, to the Scottish public) from the European Union.’
- ‘If people didn't know a perfectly ordinary bath-sponge when they saw it, things were coming to a pretty pass.’
- ‘Things have come to a pretty pass indeed when the UK's ‘human rights envoy’ disgraces herself and her party by exhibiting such naked racism toward the subjects of colonial rule.’
- ‘IT has come to a pretty pass when a leading business psychologist claims Scots are so lacking in confidence that they only make the grade when they are exiled from the land that bore them.’
- ‘The GM crops débâcle is a typical such issue; we have come to a pretty pass when even Monsanto recognises it is time to uproot itself and move to another flowerpot, but the Great Charlatan still clings to his delusions.’
- ‘Things have come to a pretty pass when, under a Labour government, the fight against a new attack on trade union rights is left to a small old Labour band in the House of Lords.’
- ‘Or to put it another way, things have come to a pretty pass in England when we have to rely on the Tory Party to stand up for freedom of speech.’
- ‘Things have come to a pretty pass when you can't even rely on our capitalists for a robust defence of black humour.’
- ‘Things have come to a pretty pass when ever a Bishop and his wife cannot drive along the Queen's highway in broad daylight without being battered with stones by loitering navvies.’
- ‘It comes to a pretty pass when we're relying on a 17-year-old lad who's barely out of his school shorts to win games for us.’
- ‘Things have come to a pretty pass when the Left starts to sing the praises of nuclear deterrence.’
- ‘It is coming to a pretty pass when a woman cannot walk the street without being arrested as disorderly’
- ‘It came to a pretty pass when pensioners had to preface their comments with ‘please do not shout me down’, especially when they were agreeing with the majority of those who were there.’
- ‘We have come to a pretty pass when territorial customary rights are referred to as ‘TCRs’.’
Top tips for CV writingRead more
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.