I am what I am ....

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Apr 23 16:16:26 UTC 2010

On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 11:28 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> At 10:15 AM -0400 4/23/10, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>>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.

Well, sure, since we're talking about repetition on the surface, for
rhetorical effect. The impact is lessened when one side of the
equation resorts to pronominal substitution. John Wayne wouldn't have
sounded quite the same if he'd said, "A man's gotta do what he's gotta

--Ben Zimmer

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

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