The idiom "where you're coming from" refers to understanding another person's perspective, feelings, or motivations. Rather than referring to a physical location, this idiom focuses on mental or emotional states. It's often used when acknowledging someone's viewpoint or justifying their actions or reactions, even if you may not necessarily agree with them.
The phrase "where you're coming from" expresses the understanding or acknowledgment of another's perspective or emotions. It communicates empathy and respect for differing viewpoints or experiences.
Key aspects of the idiom's meaning:
This phrase's origin is unclear, but it may have emerged in American English in the second half of the 20th century. Some sources suggest that the phrase is a shortened version of the question “Where are you coming from?” which can mean either one’s geographical origin or one’s reason for doing something.
"Seriously, I think I know where you’re coming from, and I’d like to share that space."
- a comic strip by G.B. Trudeau, 1980
The earliest citation of the phrase in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1980, in a comic strip by G.B. Trudeau. The phrase has since become widely used in English-speaking countries and cultures, especially in informal speech and writing.
Here are some examples of the idiom in use:
"Where you're coming from" is often used in day-to-day conversations and dialogues in movies, TV shows, books, and music due to its relatability and universal application.
Here are a few examples:
While "where you're coming from" is commonly used, other English phrases can communicate a similar meaning.
Here are a few examples:
This idiom refers to the understanding or acknowledgement of another's perspective, feelings, or motivations.
The exact origin is unclear, but it's believed to have arisen in the mid-20th century as a metaphorical expansion of understanding someone's background or origin.
You can use "where you're coming from" when acknowledging someone's viewpoint or feelings, like "You said that something is better than nothing. I don’t agree, but I see where you're coming from."
While it's commonly used in informal conversation, "where you're coming from" can also be used in more formal discussions where understanding or acknowledging another's perspective is essential.
Yes, similar phrases include "I see your point," "I understand your perspective," and "I get what you're saying."
No, "where you're coming from" expresses understanding of a perspective or viewpoint, but not necessarily agreement with it.
While it's more commonly used in conversational English, it can be used in formal writing if it suits the context and maintains clarity.
Not in the idiomatic sense. "Where you're coming from" refers to understanding a person's perspective, feelings, or motivations, not their geographic origin.
Yes, it can be used in professional discussions or meetings to convey understanding of a colleague's or client's viewpoint.
Yes, using "where you're coming from" can enhance communication by showing that you value and respect another's perspective, fostering more open and respectful dialogue.
Effective communication is paramount; sometimes, understanding "where you're coming from" is key. Whether it's during conflict resolution, empathizing with a friend's situation, or trying to understand a foreign concept, this idiom is often crucial in establishing deeper connections and fostering mutual respect.
Here's a quick summary:
Understanding the idiom "where you're coming from" is critical to effective communication, paving the way for meaningful discussions and stronger relationships. So don't hesitate to use this empathetic expression!