In the English language, we have thousands of ways that we can say yes.
Of Course, Sure, No Problem, Certainly, Yeah, Yaha.
But one that goes one step further than all the others is the one I want to talk about in this article today, “For you, a thousand times over”.
This phrase has a similar meaning to “yes”. But it goes one step further by saying that not only are you willing to do it, but you would be willing to do it again and again and again.
It would be wise to avoid using this phrase when a simple “yes” will suffice. You should only use it when you’re talking to someone you really care about something significant. And you should only do so when the action you are being asked to do is painful for you.
Novels and other forms of literature have played a large part in shaping our language. Many of the idioms that we use regularly have their origins in some great works of literature.
“For you, a thousand times over” comes from a fairly recent novel.
The Kite Runner was written in 2003, by Afghan American author Khaled Hosseini.
This phrase was originally written to show the theme of repetition, found a lot throughout the novel.
In “The Kite Runner”, one of the characters (Hassan) runs his kite in an alleyway, but ends up getting raped by Assep. Amir witnesses the interaction but is too scared to do anything. He later says that he would run his kite in that alley “A thousand times over” to make up for his lack of action.
This is such a powerful phrase. It shows that Amir is so consumed with guilt, not only would he be willing to get raped, but he would be willing to have it done to him, one thousand times just so he could redeem himself.
Is it metaphorical?
Metaphorical language is when we say things which we don’t literally mean, but they portray a message about our actual state of mind.
For example, when someone is “driving you up the wall”, they don’t own some kind of spider-car. They are just very irritating.
There could be a debate about whether or not, “For you, a thousand times over” counts of metaphorical language or not.
Perhaps some people would literally be willing to go through pain one thousand times for the person they love. Or maybe it’s just said to demonstrate to the power of emotions felt at the time.
Why it’s better than “yes”
In most situations, a simple “yes” or “no problem” will do the job. But if you’re talking about doing something substantial for a loved one, you will want to say something that shows how much they mean to you.
Imagine your spouse needs medicine, but the only way to get it is to walk through a rough neighbourhood. And she says to you “Are you sure you’re okay with this? You could get killed”.
What would have more of an impact “of course” or “for you, a thousand times over”?
There is one time when you could use it in a non-serious context, and that is when you’re doing so for comedic purposes.
When the task you have been asked to do is obviously such a mundane and consequence-free task. Using this kind of language will create a juxtaposition which shows just how trivial the topic is.
For example, if your spouse asks if you’re okay to do the washing up tonight, you might respond with “For you, a thousand times over” to show that doing the washing up is not a task which is going to be of any burden to you.
One issue I want to address is the number in the quote, one thousand.
I’m not saying one thousand isn’t a big number. If you had to do something one thousand times, it would quickly become tedious.
But I’m not sure it’s big enough to have the impact it’s intended to.
If you love and care about something to that extent, wouldn’t it make more sense to use a larger number like a billion or even a trillion?
Or even better, paraphrase Shakespeare and say “Infinity and one” times.
The start of the quote “For you” goes to show that this is not something you would enjoy doing. If you were just willing to do something “a thousand times”, that would imply it’s not something that bothers you, and maybe even something you would enjoy doing.
But by making it clear that the person you’re talking to is the only person you would be willing to do this for. You aren’t willing to do such a thing for anyone, but there is something that makes this person unique, and you’re willing to make an extra effort for them.
Of course, this isn’t the only phrase that you could be used to show just how much you care about someone.
“I would die for you” is impactful and death is the one thing that (almost) everyone is scared of. And what we spend our whole lives trying to avoid. Therefore, if we’re willing to give up our lives, this must show that the person we’re ready to die for is special.
“I would go to Hell and back for you”. In many cultures, Hell is the worst place imaginable. It’s filled with suffering and torture.
So the fact that you would be willing to go there for someone goes to show just how much they mean to you.
It’s very new
Unlike many of the other phrases in many of my previous blogs, “For you, a thousand times over” is very new. The Kite Runner was only written in 2003.
Therefore, it has not yet had the chance to stand the test of time. Perhaps it will die out within a matter of years, or maybe it will become one of those phrases that will stick around for the rest of human history, only time will tell for sure.
“For you, a thousand times over” essentially means “yes”. But it means so much more than just a simple, “yes”.
This is a phrase that should be said when you’re talking to the most important people in your life, about doing things which are not going to be comfortable at all for you.