Archive for November 30th, 2010

November 30, 2010

About cake

I bet he would love to eat his cake and have it too, pic: © Paul Moore |

This seems to be the proper season to write about expressions that involve cakes, cookies, and other sweet stuff.  So here is an interesting expression for you:  “you can’t eat your cake and have it too”, it also works the other way around “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”.  Both variations work although the first one (eat-have) seems the more traditional one and the second one (have-eat) the one more frequently used now.

The meaning is pretty straightforward: if you eat your cake, you don’t have it anymore.  Eating and having it are mutually exclusive. Hence this proverb is used to express the impossibility of having something both ways, if those two ways conflict.

Therefore the expression is used mostly in the negative “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”.

An example for the usage of this expression is here:

Janet: “I really want those cute Manolo Blahnik shoes.  But then I need to save money to afford to go to college.”

Jennifer: “Tough choice.  But you can’t eat your cake and have it too.”

November 30, 2010

Eye to eye

Seeing eye to eye has nothing to do with a staring contest. Pic:

This idiom has nothing to do with  “eye for an eye” the old testament notion of retaliation.   To see “eye to eye” with someone means to agree with that person, be of the same opinion as that person.

It is used both in the positive sense, two people seeing eye to eye and therefore agreeing on something, as well as in the negative sense “not seeing eye to eye.”  If anything the negative use is somewhat more frequent.

Positive usage example:

“My husband and I pretty much always see eye to eye when it comes to our finances. ”

Negative usage example:

“I resigned my job yesterday.  My manager and I just did not see eye to eye about how to handle this important project.  One of us had to go.”

The idiom can be used in business and personal communication.  It is a fairly mild and civilized way of expressing that two people do not agree.