The other way round/around or the other way about?

Anyone could help me, please?

“Martin could no longer remember whether it was he who had phoned Tim or the other way about.”

Is it: the other way round/around or the way about?

Thank you!

We usually say “or the other way round/around”. The “other way about” is possibly some regional colloquial speech, but I haven’t heard of it as a native English speaker.

W. Somerset Maugham, who is one of my favorite writers, used the expression in his novel titled “THE RAZOR’S EDGE”.

‘You might put it the other way about, if he loved you enough he wouldn’t have hesitated to do what you want.’

‘I’ve said that to myself too. But it doesn’t help. I suppose it’s more in woman’s nature to sacrifice herself than in a man’s.’ She chuckled. ‘Ruth and the alien corn and all that sort of thing.’"the+other+way+about"+Maugham&hl=ja&sa=X&ved=0CC8Q6AEwA2oVChMIwKLNkp-DyAIVyRuUCh37TAOe#v=onepage&q="the%20other%20way%20about"%20Maugham&f=false

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Thank you, @Julz611. By"some regional colloquial speech", it may be British English? The book I read is written by a British author (Ruth Rendell).

Interesting. I’m wondering if he spoke that way because it was a century ago, or because he was born a Frenchman. Even his “in woman’s nature” is a little awry.

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I dunno:) Rendell died recently aged 85, so it couldn’t be the old speech Maugham might have used a century ago. I grew up reading British English, being Aussie, but I suppose only a Brit could enlighten us.

It must be an expression current in Maugham’s days. The only current use of “the other way about” I know is in a sentence like “He should have done it according to the manual, but he - naturally - had to do it the other way about”. Even that sentence isn’t all that colloquial.

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Could we say that Ruth Rendell’s books are written in old English?

Ruth Rendell was a prolific writer, her style was admirable, her English of a high standard. She will have used regional expressions from time to time, as well as words from all periods of her life, but she would have chosen them with care. It is definitely not old English, it is just not necessarily colloquial.

Maugham often uses “about” instead of “around”. If he writes, “He looked about me”, this can mean that I looked “around” the writer, namely, Maugham. This is a hypothetical situation where l happen to meet with the great writer.

I’m glad to hear that! I’ve gone from ‘eldery’ (how could I put it?) authors such as Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan, among others, to younger ones, and I found out that Ruth Rendell has a lots of interesting books. I think I’m at her seventh book.

Some advice on how her style could help me learning English?

Thank you!

What about ‘classic’ or ‘venerable’? Well, how to profit from an author depends on how you like to play:

Let me be annoying: The best three bits of advice I can give you are Read, Read and Read :slight_smile:

@Yutaka uses expressions from his favourite authors and slots them into his comments here on the Forum. You might like to try it out for yourself or go public with your attempts.

Have you compared your own style of writing to Ruth Rendell’s or to that of her pseudonym, Barbara Vine? She had amazing observational skills and she used her extensive knowledge to weave the most intricate patterns of behaviour and yet hardly ever lost track of the logic underpinning her stories.

Try writing something structured and yet entertaining in your own language and then play with it - how could you make the story (or even just the sentence) come alive in English? Clearly, it would help to have a language partner for these kinds of games.

While I am not familiar with “He looked about me”, I have used something like “I looked about and couldn’t find him in the crowd”. (And then there is “She looked about a hundred years old, but was only 35”.)


In that case, “about” as an adverb means “here and there” or “in many directions”. Am I right?

Comme d’habitude :slight_smile:

As usual?

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Thank you for your advice, first of all those three: Read, Read and Read.

I am bound to get a slap on the wrist from Steve if I were not to add: Listen, Listen, Listen !

Thank you for the rose(s).

The results of Googling include the following:

Collected Works of W. Somerset Maugham (Novels, Short Stories, …
William Somerset Maugham -
He went back into the sittingroom and looked about him. He was so astonished that he no longer felt angry. He looked curiously at the kitchenknife and the … “The Verger” by W Somerset Maugham
by W. Somerset Maugham … would comfort him and since he did not carry them he looked about him for a shop where he could buy a packet of Gold Flakes.

You’re welcome. Of course. Listen, Listen and Listen, too.