[Ads-l] Adage: Success comes in cans - I can, you can, we can. Also: Success comes in cans, failures in can ’ts

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 23 07:58:37 EDT 2020


I received a request to explore the following saying:

The future comes in cans:  I can, you can, we can.

I could not find any instances, so I expanded the search a bit, and I
found the following school motto dated September 23, 1920:

Success comes in cans -- I can, you can, we can.

Over time I expanded the search further and found the following adage
dated November 2, 1907:

SUCCESS COMES IN CANS. FAILURE IN CAN'TS.

This roundabout search process meant that I did not notice until my
work was complete that valuable research had already been conducted.
“The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs” has an entry for the latter saying
with a 1910 citation, and Barry Popik has pertinent entry with the
following variant saying dated January 11, 1908:

SUCCESS COMES IN CANS; THE LACK OF IT IN CAN’TS.

Thus, my QI article overlaps previous work, but it does contain a new
1907 citation.
https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/08/22/cans/

[Begin acknowledgement]
Great thanks to Edward David Luft whose inquiry led QI to formulate
this question and perform this exploration. Thanks also to previous
researchers Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro
of “The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs” ; and Barry Popik of “The Big
Apple” website.
[End acknowledgement]

Garson

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


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