Down the line

“Down the line” means farther in the future, or later in a process.

Today's story: Right to repair
Explore more: Lesson #445
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Down the line

Today’s lesson was really long so we’ll do an easy expression today, and that is “down the line.” Down the line means, farther in the future, or later in a process. When we use “down the line,” we’re usually making preparations or being careful about the future.

Earlier today, I said that it can be dangerous for a tractor owner or an inexperienced repair shop to make changes to the software on a complex, modern John Deere tractor. A person might be able to solve the immediate problem, but if the solution isn’t correct, it could cause problems down the line. That means, it could cause problems in the future, problems that we can’t foresee today.

The makers of this equipment are worried that if they make their products easier to repair, it could hurt their profits down the line. That means, it could hurt their profits in the future. Do you remember why? Well, for one thing, John Deere makes a lot of money on repairs and replacement parts. And Apple loves to sell you a new device rather than fix the one you have. If these companies make their products easier to fix, they might not lose much money the first day or even the first year. But they’ll probably lose money down the line; they’ll lose money in the future.

“This is going to cause problems down the line.” That’s something you can say if you’re doing something today that will make things harder in the future. Some of you have been with me here at Plain English since the very beginning. Do you remember the first website? Oh man, I don’t even want to think about it, going back three years. The way I originally put content on the website was unorganized. It caused lots of problems down the line when I wanted to change the look and feel of the site.

You can sometimes use this if you want to say something will happen at an unspecified time in the future. If you’re young, you might like living in a big city. But do you want to live there forever? Maybe not. You might say, “I’ll want to leave the big city down the line, but for now I’m happy here.” That means, maybe sometime in the future, you’ll want to leave, but not now.

JR’s song of the week

Now it’s time for JR’s song of the week. It’s “Dusk Till Dawn” by Zayn. Dusk is the time right before sunset, at night as the sun is going down. And then dawn is when the sun comes up. So in the song, when the line says, “I’ll be with you from dusk till dawn,” it means from sundown to sunrise.

See you next time!

And that’s all for today’s lesson. Wish me luck with this battery. I feel like I leave my apartment with a full battery and if I’m not conserving it, I’ll run out in just a few hours. Hopefully I can get this battery replaced.

Anyway, that brings us to the end of the audio lesson. Remember, the fun continues at PlainEnglish.com, where the video lessons will help you express more complicated ideas in English. And today’s video is all about describing two things that have an equal likelihood of happening. So how can you say that two possibilities have about a fifty percent chance of happening? That’s on today’s video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/445.

We’ll be back on Monday. See you then!

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Story: Right to repair