I am what I am ....

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 23 16:03:26 UTC 2010

As Charles Doyle, channeling Safire, noted, "When you've got to go,
you've got to go" isn't really a tautology.

Another one of the same type is Mel Brooks's, "When you die at the
palace, you really die at the palace."

And for a variant of "business is business", try "the business of
business is business".

And, of course, Buffalo^5.


On 4/23/2010 11:28 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> At 10:15 AM -0400 4/23/10, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>> On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 8:09 AM, Charles Doyle<cdoyle at uga.edu>  wrote:
>>> A good many proverbs, in addition to "Let bygones be bygones" and
>>> one or two others that Safire quoted, appear (on the "surface") to
>>> be tautological propositions or mere assertions of identities (of
>>> course, they aren't really): "Business is business"; "A deal
>>> (bargain) is a deal (bargain)"; "Boys will be boys"; "When you've
>>> got to go, you've got to go"; et al.
>> Another one that has perhaps reached proverbial status is Woody
>> Allen's line about l'affaire Soon-Yi, "The heart wants what it wants"
>> (often misquoted more tautologically as "The heart wants what the
>> heart wants"):
> Hmmm.  Is that really *more* tautological than the original?  Maybe
> more obviously tautological.
> I always liked the contrast between "When it's over it's over" (=
> it's over, deal with it) vs. "It ain't over till it's over" (= it
> ain't necessarily over yet).
> LH

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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