"two reasons for doing anything"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 11 01:39:12 UTC 2014

It is indeed in the YBQ; see my previous email for the citation.


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Jonathan Lighter [wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 8:23 PM
Subject: "two reasons for doing anything"

I don't see this in the archives, though I've been thinking about it for a
long time.

Many years ago I was told that Sigmund Freud had once said, "There are
always two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason."

Sounds like Freud in principle, but not in style.

Google Books wants to attribute it to J. P. Morgan, but Morgan died in 1913
and the "reported" quote doesn't show up till 1940.

A few minutes ago I was watching a short film on TCM called "Teddy the
Rough Rider" (1947). It shows Theodore Roosevelt insisting, "A man always
has two reasons for whatever he does: a good one and the real one."

This attribution is presumably bogus as well, but evidently the quote
gained traction in the 1940s.

Amazingly the it isn't in YBQ.

Source? Garson?


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