Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 11:33:31 CST From: Dennis Baron Subject: Re: Popular Expressions In Message Wed, 30 Mar 1994 16:30:55 CST, "Donald M. Lance" writes: >An expression that politicians and newspeople like these days is "X can't >walk and chew gum at the same time." Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. > I think the beauty of the expression, even if it is a folk variation of Lyndon's original, is that it captures the essence: a person who can't do something phenomenally simple. Like finding something with both hands in the dark. Isn't one aspect of linguistic change making sense out of something that "doesn't make a whole lot of sense"? And is this really the origin of the phrase? But then, don't mind me, I'm only the one who innocently asked if you all could ever be singular. Dennis --- debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] (\ 217-333-2392 \'\ fax: 217-333-4321 Dennis Baron \'\ ____________ Department of English / '| ()___________) University of Illinois \ '/ \ ~~~~~~~~~ \ 608 South Wright St. \ \ ~~~~~~~~~ \ Urbana, IL 61801 ==). \ __________\ (__) ()___________)