Nobody Does It Like Sara Lee?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Apr 18 19:16:25 UTC 2005

At 1:06 PM -0400 4/18/05, David Bowie wrote:
>From:    Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
>>At 08:45 PM 4/17/2005 -0400, Bethany Dumas(?) wrote:
>>>I gave my intro to lx students a question on a recent test
>>>requiring analysis of the advertising slogan, "Nobody Doesn't Like
>>>Sara Lee." It turned out that until they saw the words on the test
>>>- and checked some URLs -- some of them thought the slogan was
>>>"Nobody Does It Like Sara Lee."
>>>(We never know what we are really teaching, do we?)
>>Only some of them?  I always heard it as "does it like"--presumably
>>bakes like she does, that is.  Two reasons, perhaps: The negative
>>nasal is hard to hear in song.  But more importantly, I couldn't say
>>"nobody doesn't like"; I'd say "there's nobody who doesn't like ...."
>>  So my grammar simply wouldn't "hear" the sentence you're citing.
>>Does anyone know where the slogan originated?
>>This reminds me again of the song "It's not unusual to be loved by
>>anyone"--totally ungrammatical for me.
>For my part, i never knew the slogan was anything other than "nobody
>does it like..." until i learned the shocking truth on this very list
>three or four years ago.
>This is, BTW, *not* because the actual slogan's ungrammatical to me--i
>can happily use the "nobody doesn't like" construction. However, since
>i'd only ever heard the slogan, and since "Nobody does it like Sara Lee"
>makes perfect sense as a slogan, my initial mishearing presumably became
>lodged in my brain--it's *still* heard for me to hear the correct
>jingle, even though i know what it's supposed to be now.

Did all of you who misheard in as "Nobody does it like Sara Lee" also
hear the first line of the jingle ("Everybody doesn't like
something") and the connecting "but"?  For me, this would preclude
the mishearing, since there's no obvious connection, much less a
"but" connection, between "Everybody doesn't like something" and
"nobody does it like Sara Lee", whereas the actual second line
("Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee") makes perfect sense here, although
for some it may not make perfect English.  Maybe they discontinued
the first line some time ago; I haven't caught the jingle lately in
either one-line or two-line versions, so I don't know.


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