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58 votes
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What does children mean in “Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.“?

Two thoughts are run together: Familiarity breeds contempt {knowing people very well lets you see their faults} Familiarity breeds children {physical familiarity between the sexes leads to children} ...
Anton's user avatar
  • 28.8k
55 votes
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"None of us is" vs "None of us are", Which is Correct?

Semantically, none is neither singular nor plural. It's less than one and much less than many. So its subject agreement is entirely arbitrary. Plus, negatives are noted for their funny grammar. ...
John Lawler's user avatar
44 votes

"None of us is" vs "None of us are", Which is Correct?

According to Oxford Online Dictionaries, either is correct: It is sometimes held that none can only take a singular verb, never a plural verb: none of them is coming tonight rather than none of ...
drewhart's user avatar
  • 3,108
44 votes
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Meaning of "I have often seen Essex cheese quick enough"

Heywood is rhyming "thick enough" with "quick enough" and at the same time making a pun. The word "quick" not only relates to speed, but to the state of being alive. We still use it in that sense ...
Ray Butterworth's user avatar
42 votes
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You have the watches, but we have the time

Several sources I've checked attribute this quote to an Afghan proverb. The meaning of the second part is clear: time is on our side. But what does the "watches" in the first part refer to? ...
walen's user avatar
  • 614
37 votes

What does children mean in “Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.“?

For those whose first language is not English What other answers have not explained so far is that the phrase "familiarity breeds contempt" is a very well known proverb in English that came ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
27 votes
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Perhaps a Hanlon's Razor, but what does it mean?

The sentence you provide, Hasin, is not the same as "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity," which as Gnawme points out, is an adage known as Hanlon's Razor. ...
jaxter's user avatar
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23 votes
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What does it mean to be "sixty-fortied"?

The episode transcript earlier explains LORELAI: This isn’t a singles bar, Mom. It’s a sixty-forty bar. EMILY: A what? LORELAI: Sixty-year-old men hitting on forty-year-old women, divorcees mostly. ...
Helmar's user avatar
  • 5,447
23 votes

Perhaps a Hanlon's Razor, but what does it mean?

It's the original Hanlon's Razor Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. cast in the form of Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is ...
Gnawme's user avatar
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19 votes
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Meaning and interpretation of Bilbo's "half as well" quote

I think changing the halves into "many or some" gets past the math. More than half means many and less than half means some. And then the phrase "half as well" is "not as much" or "less than". Both ...
Drew's user avatar
  • 306
15 votes
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Why is "man" used where a plural might be appropriate, and not "men"?

Man is being used as a singular collective term describing all of humanity. I believe that the point is that "Gods" and "Kings" would be separate entities (or special distinctions) that would be ...
Eliot G York's user avatar
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15 votes

Is Robert Oppenheimer's phrase “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” grammatical in English?

As modern German, French, and Italian still do today, early modern English formed the perfect tenses of intransitive verbs of directed motion and some changes of state not with a form of to have, but ...
KarlG's user avatar
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12 votes
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Who first said "We can predict everything, except the future"?

A preliminary digression Although I want to provide a useful answer to the poster's specific question, I must first point out the inaccuracy of Dougvj's answer. According to that answer, the phrase &...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
11 votes

What is the exact wordings for “There is a single stupid question in the world ... " in Stephen King's "Under the Dome"?,

The phrase "stupid question" does not appear in Stephen King's Under the Dome. (I checked online.) The following King line (as noted above by Jim) does appear in The Wind Through the Keyhole: The ...
deadrat's user avatar
  • 44.8k
11 votes

"None of us is" vs "None of us are", Which is Correct?

As almost everybody else here mentions (not "mention" :D), none comes from not one, so grammatically, it should be used as a singular (it baffles me how some people conclude the opposite from the same ...
Ratler's user avatar
  • 332
11 votes
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Seeking origin and original wording of a quotation attributed to Shakespeare

The line is spoken by Proteus, a villain in Shakespeare's play The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The saying occurs in act 3, scene 1 of the text, lines 247-8 of the scene. You can see it in an 1838 edition ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
10 votes

Origin of the saying "God must love the poor because he made so many of them"

One interesting feature of this quotation is that it began appearing with some regularity, usually attributed to Lincoln, in the middle 1890s, some three decades after Lincoln's death (April 15, 1865)....
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
9 votes
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Did the phrase "final solution" for a form of genocide first appear with the Canadians?

The 'Indian problem' before 1880: Conquest, relocation, and extinction Multiple U.S. writers and at least one Canadian writer used the phrase "final solution of our Indian problem" (or ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
9 votes

You have the watches, but we have the time

The earliest match I've been able to find for any close variant of "You have the watches, but we have the time" is in testimony by Ambassador William Taylor, identified as "coordinator ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
9 votes

Grammar of "No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally–and often far more–worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond"

The essence of C. S. Lewis's quote is "If any book is worth reading when you are 10, then that book is also worth reading (and sometimes even more worth reading) when you are 50 or older." (...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 43.4k
8 votes
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Where does the [sic] go in this sentence?

Place [sic] after the second repetition error. It would read: ... visitors need to need to [sic] apply for a temporary... Editorial (your) additions are placed in square brackets.
Stan's user avatar
  • 2,469
8 votes

What does "The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier" mean?

GBS was a commentator on society, writing in the early twentieth century, when socialism was emerging and capitalism was under close scrutiny. His cynicism, to a large extent reflects the attitudes of ...
WS2's user avatar
  • 64.8k
7 votes

What does Quentin Crisp mean with the quote "To know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody"?

It is a kind of joke to make a serious point. It is a play on the phrase "to know all is to forgive all" which is a translation from the French "Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner". Nobody seems to ...
JeremyC's user avatar
  • 3,713
7 votes
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How to use quotation marks when quoting more than one paragraphs?

The standard way of doing this is to put a quote mark at the start of each paragraph, but if a quote continues to the next paragraph, don't close the quote until it really ends. "The next period ...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
  • 103k
6 votes

When should end punctuation go inside quotes?

According to the IEEE Style Guide (archive link here), In American English, commas, semicolons, periods, question and exclamation marks are located within quotation marks only when a complete ...
WBT's user avatar
  • 3,554
6 votes
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What does "The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier" mean?

Shaw's observation appears in his preface to Major Barbara (1905). Here it is, in somewhat greater context: Every reasonable man (and woman) is a potential scoundrel and a potential good citizen. ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
6 votes

Square Brackets and ellipses

If the original wording begins "The sun" and you insert "yellow" between those first two words, I can't imagine any theory under which adding ellipsis points (which indicate ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
6 votes
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"The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would like to be remembered to you." - what does that mean?

The Oxford Dictionary gives one meaning of remember as 1.3 (remember someone to) Convey greetings from one person to (another). So the sentence The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would like to ...
Weather Vane's user avatar
  • 21.5k

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