2003/04/17
 
22:05

Too Pedantic to be Interesting?

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably ..."

Okay, what's the next word in that saying? "Is" or "Isn't"? Try 'em both and see which one sounds right to you.

Interestingly enough — well, interesting to me, anyway — there's some dispute about this. Let's see what Google has to say...

Click here for the "is" version. (29,800 hits when I looked)

Click here for the "isn't" version. (1,830 hits when I looked)

People apparently disagree on whether the final verb refers to the "too good" part or just the "true" part. I can see it both ways, so when I write the saying, I render it as "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true." I note (again, using Google) that others have settled upon this solution.

I wonder how much of our everyday wisdom is so fraught with contradiction and misunderstanding? Well, maybe "a stitch in time saves nine", but if you also believe that "haste makes waste" (or "act in haste, repent at leisure") you might find yourself in a quandry.

I found a proverbs database here — the wisdom of ages in an easily-accessible format! You can look for some contradictions and confusion there yourself, or draw some odd inferences.

I suppose you're expecting me to end this blog entry with a saying.

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