# Thread: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

1. ## six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

What does this saying mean? I know it means there's little difference between one and the other, but literally, does it mean something is six of a group that has only six, and half-a-dozen(12/2=6) of the other group which has more than six? Or don't I have to care about its literal meaning?

do49
ex)(It is) six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

2. ## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

Originally Posted by keannu
What does this saying mean? I know it means there's little difference between one and the other, but literally, does it mean something is six of a group that has only six, and half-a-dozen(12/2=6) of the other group which has more than six? Or don't I have to care about its literal meaning?

do49
ex)(It is) six of one and half-a-dozen of the other
The literal meaning is irrelevant except that they mean the same thing. It could have been "50 of one and half a hundred of the other" (though it's not).

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## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

Originally Posted by keannu
What does this saying mean? I know it means there's little difference between one and the other, but literally, does it mean something is six of a group that has only six, and half-a-dozen(12/2=6) of the other group which has more than six? Or don't I have to care about its literal meaning?
It doesn't distinguish between the size of the groups, and Raymott's right- it's just a way of saying the same thing in different words to give the idea that there's no difference.

4. ## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

I've also met 'It's six and two threes' used with the same meaning.

And a mathematician has been known to say 'It's six of one and 3! of the other' - same meaning, but 'in' joke (people who understand 'factorial' notation get it)

b

5. ## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

Originally Posted by BobK
I've also met 'It's six and two threes' used with the same meaning.

And a mathematician has been known to say 'It's six of one and 3! of the other' - same meaning, but 'in' joke (people who understand 'factorial' notation get it)

b
My daughters will both like this.
Along the same lines, they also like this: There are 10 types of people in the world. Those whose understand binary and those who don't.

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## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

"six of one and half-a-dozen of the other" is a reply when we want to choose between two things and the person giving the reply is effectively saying that there is no difference between these two choices.

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## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

Like-for-like.

8. ## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

Originally Posted by Judge Brybe
Like-for-like.
This phrase has an implication of substitution. 'Six of one and half a dozen of the other' has no such implication - although things that are similar to this extent are obviously candidates for a like-for-like exchange.

b
Last edited by BobK; 03-Apr-2012 at 13:39. Reason: Fix typo

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## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

Originally Posted by BobK
This phrase has an implication of substitution. 'Six of one and half a dozen of the other' has no such implication - although things that are similar to this extent are obviously candidates for a like-for-like exchange.
b
I see, sir

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## Re: six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

"Half a dozen = 6. So "six" and "half a dozen" are two ways of saying the same thing. The expression means that there is no important difference between the alternatives, or the differences offset one another so the net result is the same.
For example, I say to my husband, "Should I take Highway 101 or Highway 280?" and he replies, "It's six of one and a half dozen of the other." He means that I'll get there in about the same amount of time whether I take one road or the other."

This person's answer says much but conveys little.

"Six of one, half a dozen of the other" is a reply to a question that solicits an evaluation between two choices. The person giving the reply is effectively saying "there is no difference between these two choices".

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