General Writing and Grammar Help/Bite the dust


- "I am shopping for a new treadmill since my current 5 year old Nordictrack C2500's button console is biting the dust. The console is nearly $600 to replace, which is a long way towards a new machine."

- Dear Sally! I found this short paragraph online. I know the meaning of "bite" and "dust". But I don't get their meanings in this paragraph. What do "bite the dust" and "a long way towards a new machine" mean in this context?

Thank you very much, Sally!

Hi, Steven,

Great questions!  These are both somewhat or actually colloquial, or American/English slang.

"Bite the dust" refers to death, as in "ashes to ashes, dust to dust," from the English Christian /Jewish Bible service for the dead. When something/someone "bites the dust," s/he/it dies, or in the case of a machine or process, stops functioning forever.

The second reference is actually deriving its meaning from the earlier phrase "cost $600 to replace." Because the amount is so high for repairs/replacement of just one part, that figure is a substantial amount, "going a long way towards a new machine"'s actual cost. Do you see? Many people would decide,therefore, that if a new machine is only a few hundred dollars more than the replacement cost of one part, that it's not worth it to pay to replace it and more value is received from the purchase of a new machine.

I hope this helps. Please rate my answer.

Best to you,


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Sally Ember, Ed.D.


I can answer any grammar, writing, reading, editing and proofreading questions for nonfiction, fiction, literary criticism. I can also help in most content areas except for hard science and narrow areas of history. Specialize in E.S.L. , those with learning disabilities and processing problems. Clarity, fun, and simple answers as well as assisting with improving to excellence.


Many years teaching K - 12 and college-level writing. Degrees in education through doctorate. Published nonfiction and fiction writer.

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B.A., Elementary Ed., social science/language arts concentrations Experience teaching high school and college Master's and doctorate in education Writing instructor at secondary and post-secondary levels, including GRE and SAT preparation high scores on PSAT, SAT, GRE and National Teaching Exams

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National Merit Scholar, 1971 Phi Beta Kappa Summa Cum Laude, B.A.

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