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Hi all,
recently I have come across this sentence
"I just bumped into him on the street and couldn't remember his name for the life of me."
but I still can't figure out what "for the life of me" means.
does it mean I had to remeber his name to save my life?

Your help would be much much appreciated

Thank you!!
Comments  
It means that you couldn't remember his name although you were trying very hard.

LS
Hello!Emotion: smile

It is an idiom, isn't it? ..how can it be used?

Would ‘I tried for the life of me and finally managed what I wanted’ be correct?

Thanks in advance!
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It is indeed Emotion: smile – usually, you only use it with the phrase "I couldn't/can't do X", e.g. "I couldn't for the life of me see what the problem was", "I couldn't for the life of me remember his name", "I can't for the life of me think of another example".
Thank you so much MrP!Emotion: smile

So, that idiom, somehow introduces a subordinate sentence, right? (Subordinate sentence? Is it said this way?)
Well, on reflection, you could also use it as a fragment, e.g.

1. "So can you guess what this does?" "Not for the life of me, no."

And it doesn't need to introduce a clause, e.g.

2. I can't for the life of me remember his name.

Really, the structure is just:

3. I can't/couldn't (for the life of me) do X.

(So it acts as an adverbial intensifier, so to speak.)
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Thank you for the explanation, MrP! Emotion: smile

(A new idiom, great!)
MrPedanticWell, on reflection, you could also use it as a fragment, e.g.

1. "So can you guess what this does?" "Not for the life of me, no."

And it doesn't need to introduce a clause, e.g.

2. I can't for the life of me remember his name.

Really, the structure is just:

3. I can't/couldn't (for the life of me) do X.

(So it acts as an adverbial intensifier, so to speak.)
Now clear!! thanks a lot for your nice and clear explanations
Oh I forgot to thank Lone swordsman. Thank you Lone Swordsman
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