“I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves" please help me explain this sentence. Many thanks

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  • 1
    There is no idiom here to be seen. – tchrist Nov 24 '16 at 14:41

"I have long been of the opinion that..." means "I have held the opinion I am about to describe for a long time"

"if work were such a splendid thing" means "if work was as good a thing as people tell me it is"

"the rich would have kept more of it for themselves" means "rich people would do more of it instead of leaving it for poor people to do"

Does that help?

The intention is satirical or, more probably, sarcastic. It is certainly humorous.


This is an epigram, attributed to Bruce Grocott. It is a comment on the hypocrisy of many rich people who praise the virtue of hard work whilst doing none themselves. As has already been pointed out, it contains no idiomatic English (that I can see).

  • My guess is that you are looking for something like "If the good Lord had intended me to fly he would have given me wings". But I can't think of anything, I'm afraid. – WS2 Nov 24 '16 at 14:56
  • @WS2 ... or as a friend once commented on my liking for good food: "If pigs could fly, you'd be a squadron leader." – Mick Nov 24 '16 at 15:02

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