[Ads-l] Pun about quarreling neighbors: They never agree because they argue from different premises

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 10 19:35:02 UTC 2020

The October 2020 newsletter of Nigel Rees contains a discussion of an
inquiry he received from Henry Hardy of Oxford University about a pun
attributed to the famous wit Reverend Sydney Smith.

A version of this joke is presented in the subject line. Rees's
newsletter mentions an August 1859 citation. I located an anonymous
instance of the pun in the September 1841 issue of "Punch". (Given
below.) Here is a link to the Quote Investigator article:


Sydney Smith received credit in "The Birmingham Journal" on May 21,
1859. Feedback and earlier citations would be welcome.

[ref] 1841 September 25, Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume 1,
(Untitled short item),  Quote Page 123, Column 1, Published at The
Punch Office, London. (Google Books Full View) link [/ref]


[Begin excerpt]
When a person holds an argument with his neighbour on the opposite
side of the street, why is there no chance of their agreeing?--Because
they argue from different premises.
[End excerpt]

Garson O'Toole

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

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