[Ads-l] Saying: Half of what we teach you is wrong, but we don't know which half
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 30 15:07:02 UTC 2022
The Quote Investigator website now has an article about the saying in
the subject line.
One Half of What I Have Told You May Be Proved Untrue. Unfortunately,
I Cannot Tell You Which Half
Great thanks to Jonathan Lighter and Marc Sacks whose comments led QI
to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Special
thanks to researcher Barry Popik whose exploration of a related
expression about advertising led him to identify the Boswell precursor
and to locate pertinent citations beginning in 1953.
On Wed, Apr 13, 2022 at 5:28 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks to JL and Marc Sacks for their responses mentioning sayings of
> the type presented in the subject line in which a lecturer or educator
> admits that the knowledge being transmitted to recipients is flawed
> and incomplete.
> Barry Popik mentioned these sayings within his article about "Half the
> money spent on advertising is wasted …" Barry listed citations in the
> medical domain in 1953, 1956, 1961, 1995, 2001, and 2008.
> This family of sayings is difficult to trace (for me). Here are a few
> selected items I found today. In 1917 C. P. Dadant used a version of
> the saying while delivering a lecture about bees:
> [ref] 1917, The Twenty-Second Annual Report of the Illinois Farmers’
> Institute: A Handbook of Agriculture, Proceedings of the Twenty-Second
> Annual Meeting, Held in Streator, Illinois on February 21, 22, and 23,
> 1917, Friday Afternoon Session on February 23, 1917, The Usefulness of
> Bees in Horticulture and the Value of Honey as a Diet by Mr. C. P.
> Dadant, Start Page 176, Quote Page 177, Illinois State Journal
> Company, Springfield, Illinois. (Google Books Full View) link [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> Josh Billings said: “What is the use of knowing so much when half of
> what we do know ain’t so?” [Laughter] It is quite probable that half
> of what I am going to tell you to-day ain’t so, but I don’t know which
> half. It will be for you to find out. [Laughter.]
> [End excerpt]
> In 1944 G.M. executive Charles F. Kettering attributing an instance to
> an unnamed medical educator:
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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