"Having his cake..."--why does everybody get this wrong?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The adage about wanting to have something both ways should be stated thusly:
    He wants to eat his cake and have it too.
    Note the meaning.
    So, why do people always say, "He wants to have his cake and eat it too"? So what? That's the way I always approach a cake: first I have it, then I eat it.
    But you can't eat it and still have it. Look the aphorism up.
    And finally: It's "I could not care less." By saying "I could care less," you are saying that, yes, there are even greater degrees of apathy possible.
    Thank you.
     
  2. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Good ones, Jack. Another one that gets to me is the confrontation between an "irresistible force" and an "immovable object". Such a confrontation is a logical absurdity, since the two states are mutually exclusive, not to mention the epistemological difficulties in proving what are really only putative claims.

    Yet another one that bugs me is the phrase "almost infinite". Oh really? Does that mean that if the quantity or magnitude of the "almost infinite" (In other words, FINITE) thing is raised just a little, that it will become infinite? Saying so violates the very meaning of the term "infinite".
     
  3. John Spencer

    John Spencer Supporting Actor

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    Of course, looking at it biologically, it is entirely possible to "have" your cake for a few hours after having consumed it (barring diuretics), thus making the adage physiologically fallible also. [​IMG]
     
  4. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    I think that having your cake and eating it too means at concurrently and not following as you read it. I want to have it AND eat it not I want to have it THEN eat it.
     
  5. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Jack, I had this discussion a while ago with some people, but I just got frustrated... I think it is like brian a says, it is "I want to have my cake and eat it too" meaning "I want to keep my cake intact and not eat it, BUT I also want to eat it and enjoy it".
    The whole point is that we can't have it both ways, thus not "have it and eat it too".
    The people I discussed it with argued, like you do, that "have my cake and eat it too" is something that everyone does, but I believe that the meaning is exactly the same as "eat my cake and have it too", since people don't HAVE a cake AND eat it, but HAVE a cake and THEN eat it.
    Of course, some people don't get it all, they think it just means to sit on something and then enjoy it, so your version might help clear up that misunderstanding... [​IMG]
    /Mike
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Similar to Robert's mention of "almost infinite" would be "very unique" or "so unique" or "most unique of all." Look: Something is either unique or it isn't. There are no degrees of uniqueness.

    All of my assertions are based on The Chicago Manual of Style, AP Stylebook, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, and Fowler's exhaustive manual on English usage.

    Making these sorts of mistakes can be dangerous (as in career-limiting) in my line of work.

    Thank you for your time.
     
  7. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    I think it's in every language. People no longer realize the original meaning of a saying.

    In Durtch there's an expression (translated) "who sketches my surprise..." (like in " So I thought my wife was home; now who sketches my surprise when I met her in Macy's"). But what you hear very often now is : "what sketches my surprise, when I found out...". Actually, pure nonsense.

    There are several other examples, but too complicated to explain in another language.

    Cees
     
  8. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    This is why I always buy 2 cakes. To avoid situations like this. [​IMG]
     
  9. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Here's one from George Carlin:

    "I hate when airlines use the term 'near miss' to describe two planes almost colliding. That's a near hit! Near miss? A hit is a near miss! BOOM! 'Look Dave, they nearly missed!'"
     
  10. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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  11. Bill Buklis

    Bill Buklis Supporting Actor

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    Another common mistake is the incorrect usage of the word "loose". Loose does not mean to lose! For example, "I didn't mean to loose my tie". When what is really trying to be said is "I didn't mean to lose my tie." I mean, was your tie lost? Or was it just too tight and you loosened it? Or perhaps you "let loose" your tie to wreak havoc upon the world.

    Typos are one thing. I often make them. But "loose" is used so often it's clearly not just a typing mistake.
     
  12. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    ...and of course my accounting teacher said "ATM Machine" today. Like hmmm, let's get some money out of the automatic teller machine machine.
     
  13. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Yeah Chuck, and sports announcers saying "RBIs", in effect saying "runs batted ins".
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Or, "Let's watch a DVD disc!" [​IMG]
     
  15. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    This sounds like deja vu all over again.

    I like my roast beef served with au jus sauce.

    Why is the department that handles all of the outdoors called the Ministry of the Interior...the only word they can't use?
     
  16. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    [​IMG] How about "perfectly flawless" (as opposed to imperfectly flawless?).
    Reminds me of a story about a guru who was supposed to be "perfect". When it was disclosed that he had an ulcer, one of his followers said "ah, but it is a perfect ulcer!".
     
  17. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I almost forgot "free gift". Whew! all those other people make me pay for my gift!
     
  18. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    RobertR, mostly it seems though that the places that tell you that they'll give you a "free gift" are the ones that charge you for it, one way or another. [​IMG]
    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned "irregardless" it always comes up in threads like this! [​IMG]
    /Mike
     
  19. Paul D Young

    Paul D Young Second Unit

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    When someone says they "feel 100% better" then I guess they must have really felt like nothing before [​IMG].
    I hate it when I hear someone say they want me to give 110% or any other misuse/exaggeration of the %. It takes away the meaning. It drives me nuts!
    Also "PIN Number"!
     
  20. Bob Weissman

    Bob Weissman Auditioning

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    Wow, my first post on HTF is the most off-topic thing I've ever posted. [​IMG]
    Bartlett's Familiar Quotations attributes the first known transcription of the original saying to a publication called Proverbes by John Heywood (1497-1580). This is the earliest known collection of English colloquialisms, first printed in 1546. So if you want to get the quotation exactly right, you have to say
    Would yee both eat your cake and have your cake? [sic]
    Well, would yee? [​IMG]
     

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