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jawnn
03-21-2014, 10:35 PM
In modern English is it literate to say “all that glitters is not gold” when you mean that “not all that glitters is gold”??

King Neptune
03-21-2014, 10:42 PM
That statement is completely literate and grammatically correct. "All" is a collective pronoun (or something like that) in this case, and your rewrite of the statement is not exactly the same in meaning. "All" is the subject of "is".

Duncan J Macdonald
03-21-2014, 10:43 PM
In modern English is it literate to say “all that glitters is not gold” when you mean that “not all that glitters is gold”??

Not sure what you meant by 'literate', but no, the two phrases are not equivalent.

"All that glitters is not gold" means, to me at least, that gold does not glitter. And if I do find something that glitters it won't be gold. Ever.

"Not all that glitters is gold" leaves open the possibility that gold does glitter, but there are a whole bunch of other things that also glitter, so I'd better not assume that 'glitter' = 'gold'.

MookyMcD
03-21-2014, 10:46 PM
Chaucer would disagree.

RSwordsman
03-21-2014, 10:49 PM
Not sure what you meant by 'literate', but no, the two phrases are not equivalent.

"All that glitters is not gold" means, to me at least, that gold does not glitter. And if I do find something that glitters it won't be gold. Ever.

"Not all that glitters is gold" leaves open the possibility that gold does glitter, but there are a whole bunch of other things that also glitter, so I'd better not assume that 'glitter' = 'gold'.


Chaucer would disagree.
Lucky for grammar that Chaucer's not around anymore then XD I agree with Duncan. "All that glitters" includes gold, which means glittering gold does not exist. And I doubt this was the intent of that statement.

cornflake
03-21-2014, 10:56 PM
All that glitters = everything that glitters

Everything that glitters is not gold, meaning some things that glitter may be gold, but everything is not.

Nothing that glitters is gold means nothing at all that glitters, including gold, is gold.

Duncan J Macdonald
03-21-2014, 11:04 PM
All that glitters = everything that glitters

Everything that glitters is not gold, meaning some things that glitter may be gold, but everything is not.

Nothing that glitters is gold means nothing at all that glitters, including gold, is gold.

**** WARNING ---- TANGENT ALERT ****

"Everything" is an absolute. "Everything that glitters" includes "gold". The second half of the original phrase becomes internally contradictory by stating that "gold" does not glitter, and therefore is excluded from "Everything that glitters".

To quote Monty Python, "It don't work!"

cornflake
03-21-2014, 11:08 PM
**** WARNING ---- TANGENT ALERT ****

"Everything" is an absolute. "Everything that glitters" includes "gold". The second half of the original phrase becomes internally contradictory by stating that "gold" does not glitter, and therefore is excluded from "Everything that glitters".

To quote Monty Python, "It don't work!"

All the things that glitter are not gold.

Some of the things that glitter are gold.

Jamesaritchie
03-21-2014, 11:20 PM
In modern English is it literate to say “all that glitters is not gold” when you mean that “not all that glitters is gold”??


Yes, it's literate, and it's better than the alternative in every way.

alexaherself
03-21-2014, 11:49 PM
Call me pedantic, but the word this thread needs is actually "glisters", in place of "glitters". The saying is a quotation from Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice. :o :)

All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgement old
Your answer had not been inscroll'd
Fare you well, your suit is cold.

MookyMcD
03-22-2014, 01:18 AM
Yea, but a couple of centuries earlier, Chaucer wrote, "But all thing which that schyneth as the gold / Ne is no gold," and I doubt even he originated the phrase.

And as to this somewhat bizarre logical construction argument -- yes, gold is among the things that glitters. That is the point of the very, very old adage. Although gold is among the things that glitter, glister, and/or schyneth :) not everything in that glittery, glistery, schnethey category are, in fact, gold.

600 years (minimum) of continued use would be a hell of a run for an adage that makes no sense.

TheNighSwan
03-22-2014, 06:22 PM
I don't see an actual, non-subjective difference in meaning between “all that glitters is not gold” and “not all that glitters is gold”.

Interpreting the former as meaning that gold does not glitter seems a bit obtuse —it's pretty clear which meaning is intended, if one wished to express that gold is not among the things that glitter, at the very least you would expect an "of" somewhere.

Chase
03-22-2014, 07:42 PM
May it as that be, word order is important in old adages and phrases.

guttersquid
03-22-2014, 08:36 PM
The two sentences are identical in meaning.

(Good one, Chase.)

jawnn
03-22-2014, 10:28 PM
What!!!??

Well this is a Shakespeare quote, unless he was using Chaucer.

The reason I asked is that Shakespeare wrote when the English languages was still changing. I don't remember the exactly what he meant by the first statement.

Both Chaucer and Shakespeare used the language like ai wan t to use i, but I get such a hard time of inventing words here.



That statement is completely literate and grammatically correct. "All" is a collective pronoun (or something like that) in this case, and your rewrite of the statement is not exactly the same in meaning. "All" is the subject of "is".

cornflake
03-22-2014, 10:46 PM
What!!!??

Well this is a Shakespeare quote, unless he was using Chaucer.

The reason I asked is that Shakespeare wrote when the English languages was still changing. I don't remember the exactly what he meant by the first statement.

Both Chaucer and Shakespeare used the language like ai wan t to use i, but I get such a hard time of inventing words here.

English, like all living languages, is still changing.

It's Shakespeare - and yes, Chaucer, who used somewhat different phrasing. It's also someone who predates Chaucer, because there is nothing new under the sun.

You're better off not inventing words. Shakespeare did, but he was kind of a special case.

King Neptune
03-22-2014, 11:16 PM
What!!!??

Well this is a Shakespeare quote, unless he was using Chaucer.

The reason I asked is that Shakespeare wrote when the English languages was still changing. I don't remember the exactly what he meant by the first statement.

Both Chaucer and Shakespeare used the language like ai wan t to use i, but I get such a hard time of inventing words here.

What? Do you think that that restatement of Shakespeare's "All that glisters is not gold;" in the Merchant of Venice was not grammatically? Or do you want something more like "All that is gold does not glitter" from the Lord of the Rings? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_that_is_gold_does_not_glitter

This adage wasn't new for Shakespeare of Chaucer.
http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=All%20that%20glitters%20is%20not%20g old

Maythe
03-23-2014, 12:36 AM
You're better off not inventing words.

But inventing words is such fun! Plenty of authors have done it (Roald Dahl, Terry Pratchett and Anthony Burgess spring to mind). I'm not suggesting it should be done willy-nilly but it has its place.

alexaherself
03-23-2014, 09:10 PM
Shakespeare wrote when the English languages was still changing.

"Still" changing? It's changing even more now, and far more quickly, in these days of enhanced communications of various different kinds. Language is always changing. ;)

MookyMcD
03-24-2014, 07:46 AM
The reason I asked is that Shakespeare wrote when the English languages was still changing.

ROFL.

Cyberquote of the week. ;)

WWWalt
03-26-2014, 09:33 PM
Interpreting the former as meaning that gold does not glitter seems a bit obtuse —it's pretty clear which meaning is intended

Clarity of intent is not always a metric by which one can judge correctness. "As a mother of five, my ironing board is always up" is grammatically correct and its intent is clear, but that doesn't change the fact that it technically says the ironing board is a mother of five. (example stolen from Strunk and White)

Shakespeare could afford to be more concerned with the phrase's rhythm than its absolute semantic correctness. I don't know much about English semantics in 1600, but in 2014, "all that glitters is not gold" strictly tells us that gold does not glitter, despite its obvious intent to say the opposite.

TheNighSwan
03-26-2014, 09:59 PM
Strunk & White are the same people who continue to propagate nonsense about the agrammaticality of split-infinitives though; I'd be warry of anything coming from them, be it for style or grammar.

http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-of-Stupid-Grammar/25497

jawnn
03-26-2014, 11:13 PM
The reason I asked the question is that I hear a lot of people speaking thte 'all are not' when they mean 'not all are'.

And for as inventing words, Alan Dean Foster does it and I enjoy looking for the words.

And to top it off if I publish an e book, I can have a lexicon built right into the pages.

Books are changing, and children can learn a lot as well as their adults.

However, I will admit being much more illiterate that Shakespeare was.

WWWalt
03-27-2014, 11:14 AM
Strunk & White are the same people who continue to propagate nonsense ... I'd be warry of anything coming from them

Yes, well, (a) all I took from them was an example sentence, because I couldn't think of a good misplaced-modifier example off the top of my head. Anyone who understands English sentence construction can see the error in this example; it's not peculiar to S&W. (b) that a reference contains some questionable information does not imply that it contains only questionable information.

If you'd like to debate the particulars of what I wrote, I'm happy to engage in conversation about it. But dismissing it wholesale due to Strunk and White's missteps in unrelated topics doesn't meaningfully further the conversation.

kuwisdelu
03-27-2014, 12:45 PM
"Not all that glisters is gold," wouldn't fit the meter.

That being said, it is perfectly grammatically defensible that they have the same meaning.

The analysis thus far has assumed that the "not" modifies "gold" in the Shakespeare version, thereby asserting that anything that glisters is "not gold". However, the "not" could instead modify the verb "is". Thereby asserting that (all that glisters) (is not) (gold). To further illustrate this, we could simply add another adverb: "all that glisters is not [necessarily] gold". Since some things glister which are not gold, if we treat "all that glisters" as a single collective noun, it is truthful to say that "all that glisters" is not semantically equivalent to the noun "gold", justifying the verb phrase "is not", without necessarily implying that gold itself does not glister. QED.

Chase
03-27-2014, 08:58 PM
The analysis thus far has assumed that the "not" modifies "gold" in the Shakespeare version, thereby asserting that anything that glisters is "not gold". However, the "not" could instead modify the verb "is". Thereby asserting that (all that glisters) (is not) (gold).

Excellent parsing points. :D

MookyMcD
03-27-2014, 09:20 PM
I think the problem comes from assuming, incorrectly, that "gold" is the subject of that sentence. Which it is not.

Out of curiosity, I asked my ten-year-old what she thought that saying meant. She had a friend over yesterday, so I also asked her friend. Without hesitating, they said "not everything that glitters is gold" and "just become something glitters, doesn't mean it's gold," respectively. So from a saying that predates Chaucer through him and Shakespeare, up to the common sense translation from a ten-year-old who's never heard the saying before, it has an accepted, commonsense meaning.