Figure that

Use 'figure that' to describe someone's reasoning

Today's story: Emojis in court
Explore more: Lesson #608
Keywords:

Take control of your English

Use active strategies to finally go from good to great

Listen

  • Learning speed
  • Full speed

Learn

TranscriptQuizYour turn
Simple TranscriptEspañol中文FrançaisPortuguês日本語ItalianoDeutschTürkçePolski

Figure that

“Figure” is a funny word; it’s often used as part of a phrasal verb. You learned “figure in ” in lesson 316 and “figure out ” back in lesson 80. But it can stand on its own, too. If you say, “I figure that…” it means, “I have come to the conclusion that…”

For example, let’s say you’re planning a day trip to a nearby town; it’s a few hours away. You want to do several things in that town and get back home before it’s too late. Your friend is skeptical; she’s not sure how you’re going to fit it all in. But you’ve thought about it and you have a plan.

So you can say, “I figure that we can leave early, by 8 a.m. We’ll get there by ten, do our activities until five, and then we’ll be home by seven in the evening.”

“I figure that…” here means, “I’ve thought about it and I have come to the conclusion…”

A few weeks ago, we talked about companies calling their employees back to the office . Some employees won’t like that. But companies figure that their employees will be more productive if they’re in the office a few days a week, and they figure that not too many employees will quit over the issue. Or, they figure that the employees who do quit are the ones they don’t want anyway.

So these are ways to use “figure that” to mean, “come to the conclusion that…”

Sometimes you can use “figure that” in the past tense to describe your reasoning, even if that reasoning proved to be flawed.

CNBC, a business news site, published a story about how much trouble Bed, Bath, and Beyond was in. That’s a company. Ryan Cohen was an investor in that company, Bed & Bath. He tweeted a “full moon with face emoji” in response to the story.

Many investors figured that he had inside information about the company and they figured that he was saying the stock would go “to the moon.” In other words, these investors figured that the stock would go up, based on Ryan Cohen’s full moon emoji tweet.

This means, they came to that conclusion. They came to the conclusion that the stock would go up, on the basis—I still can’t believe I’m saying this—they invested their money in an almost-bankrupt company on the basis of a moon emoji in a tweet.

They figured wrong. But in this case, we can say, “They figured that the stock would go up” because this is what they concluded. It wasn’t correct, but this was their logic.

I recently switched to using Outlook for e-mail. I figured that I could synch my Outlook desktop calendar to my Outlook iPhone calendar. I came to that conclusion. I figured that I could have a single calendar and it would show up on my computer and my phone, just like it did when I used Outlook for work for so many years. That conclusion was wrong! It doesn’t work that way if you don’t have a big business account. I figured wrong. Oh well.

See you next time!

And that’s all for today’s Plain English. Emojis really are a part of our lives, right? There are 3,664 total emojis, and each one can be interpreted multiple ways!

Remember, our e-mails are better than ever, packed with games, quizzes, puzzles, more English content, polls, chances to click and get involved, get thinking in English, and they’re all for free. So if you’re not getting our emails for any reason, it’s okay, just go to PlainEnglish.com/mail, enter your address, and we will brighten your inbox with inspiring and fun content every Monday and Thursday.

That’s all for today. Another lesson is coming your way on Thursday—don’t miss it!

Use realistic expressions like a native speaker

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

Test your knowledge

Take a 4-question quiz to make sure you understand today’s Expression

Plus+ feature

Write a sentence with this Expression

Get personal, human feedback on the examples that you write. Build the confidence to use this Expression in the real world

Story: Emojis in court