General Writing and Grammar Help/Lead

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Question
- Dear Sally!

1.
A: You lose our only lead on Vortex. And then you try and kill my mother.
B: We have another lead. Vortex was in Mozambique.

- This is a short conversation between two special agents. What does “lead” mean in this context?

2.
A: You want to flirt with Susan, right?
B: Yeah. But she’s out of my league.

- I know “She’s out of my league” means “She is just too hot for me and I have absolutely no chance with her”. But when I want to say to mean the opposite “I’m too hot for her and she has absolutely no chance with me”, I say “I’m out of her league”. Is it correct?

Thank you very much, Sally!

Answer
hi, Hame,

You ask good questions about slang, Hame!

Lead , in this context, is pronounced leed , by the way.

This type of lead refers to a clue, like a piece of evidence or information, a tip given by a witness or informant, a piece of the puzzle or crime or story that someone needs to solve a problem or crime or write a story for a newspaper, find something or someone, get closer to a goal of some kind. A reporter, a police officer, a private detective, a special agent, a sheriff or deputy would all need an occasional lead in their lines of work. Most of the time, these workers follow one lead to another lead to another lead until they reach their goal.

For your second request (and please put each request in a separate email next time because that's how you're supposed to use this service: one question per email), usually when the first person uses the phrase "out of my league" and the other person wants to be competitive in response, s/he could choose to use that same language and it means the same thing.

One could also keep to the metaphor (baseball is the metaphor, here) but escalate the meaning to prove superiority, for example: "If she thinks she's out of my league, I'll show her I can hit the ball out of the park!" or some other way to brag about being an excellent baseball player as an irresistible date would also work.

"Hitting the ball out of the park" means getting all the way to home plate while running around the bases on one hit, called a "home run"; getting a "grand slam" means hitting a home run with players on each base ("bases loaded") and sending them all and the hitter back to home plate on that one hit with no one getting called out, so that each player scores a point for the team with that one hit. That's the best any player can get with a single hit: 4 points.

Another part of this metaphor is to talk about how well the person does with dating by saying "I'm batting a thousand!" which means that every time the player comes up to bat, the player gets a base hit or better with no outs called on that player for any times at bat.

In actual baseball, no one bats a thousand, by the way (the math statistic used for a perfect batting average is 1.000, a ratio of 1:1 for every time at bat, a hit occurs, which looks a bit like 1,000, which is how the "a thousand" phrase came into use); the statistics are usually around .250 or .300, if a player is very good.

So, any of the above bragging responses would work with your second example.

A simple way to respond when one feels superior is "I'm too good for her," which means the same thing.

I hope this helps.

Please rank my answer.

Best to you,

Sally

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Sally Ember, Ed.D.

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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.

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