I am wondering if the sentence below is correct to use in (informal) speaking.

"I don't like to be famous, the bigger you are."

I have purposefully omitted the second part of the phrase to seem more native.

Of course the full proverb is "The bigger they are, the harder they fall".

I know that one can use "the bigger they are." but here to fit this phrase to my sentence, I think I need to change "they" to "you". Am I correct? Can you drop the second half of the proverb like I did in my sentence?

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    You can say just about anything in an informal register, but you'll need shared context to bridge any semantic gaps. In the case of your quote, I'm not sure what relationship you're drawing between size and a (lack of) fondness for fame. Until that is established, the change in pronoun is a lesser concern. – Lawrence Nov 22 '18 at 14:53
  • Sorry,but I don't understand what you need by "I'm not sure what relationship you're drawing between size and a (lack of) fondness for fame" @Lawrence – Holger Mate Nov 22 '18 at 14:56
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    Ah, you'll need different punctuation to bring that out. E.g. "I don't like to be famous. The bigger you are ...". Otherwise, the "bigger" part looks like it's intended to qualify the "famous" part. – Lawrence Nov 22 '18 at 15:07
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    @HolgerMate No it is not correct to say "X because the bigger you are." The pattern is "The Yer (something), the Zer (something else)" which is translated to the German "Je mehr Y (something), desto mehr (something else)" (or some other some other comparitives). It really requires a second phrase, the first one doesn't stand alone. Like with any phrasing, one may elide things if you indicate in speech that something else would follow. One would write out the informal statement: "I don't want to be famous because, you know, the bigger they are..." with the appropriate intonation. – Mitch Nov 22 '18 at 15:22
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    @HolgerMate The most natural is "I don't want to be famous because the bigger you are, the harder you fall." Either 'they' or 'you' work fine. – Mitch Nov 22 '18 at 15:23

You're referencing an anapodoton. Specifically, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall."

As an intentional rhetorical device, it is generally used for set phrases, where the full form is understood, and would thus be tedious to spell out, as in "When in Rome [do as the Romans]." or "If the mountain won't come to Muhammad [Muhammed will go to the mountain]." - wikipedia

First, the syntax needs to isolate the shortened part so that it is clear that the full quote is implied, or that there's a blank that the listener should fill in. On its own, your original quote doesn't make sense. Here's a possible rewrite using an ellipsis:

  • I don't like to be famous. The bigger you are ....

You ask about replacing "they" from the original "the bigger they are ..." with "you" in your quote. However, the syntax suggests that the (second person) "you" should really refer to the first person. If we accept the tuism(?) - and it does sound better in the second person than in the first person - then the switch from "they" to "you" is acceptable in the rewritten form.

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    Helpful answer. Thank you for reminding me of 'anapodoton'. It comes from the Greek αποδιδωμι (apodidomi), meaning I render something due. So in the question and in your example, something is promised at the beginning but not delivered as expected. My only minor quibble is that I should have used a colon rather than a full stop. – Tuffy Nov 22 '18 at 18:33

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