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Thread: wear two hats

  1. #1
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    Default wear two hats

    "One thing at a time,please. I can't wear two hats at one time."

    Is that idiom commonly used? Can I say I can't have the cake and eat it?

  2. #2
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    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: wear two hats

    I don't know how commonly it is used, but it certainly is commonly understood. For example, a person may have two roles within a company. In certain situations, he might take off one hat and put on another. That means he changes roles. (He might not actually be wearing a hat.)

    As far as I know, the expression is always stated in the second person: "You can't have your cake and eat it too." The "you" in that sentence is not directed to anybody in particular.


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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: wear two hats

    I don't think it means the same- 'you can't have your cake and eat it' is different. It is used when someone wants to have something both ways to their advantage.

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    Default Re: wear two hats

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    I don't know how commonly it is used, but it certainly is commonly understood. For example, a person may have two roles within a company. In certain situations, he might take off one hat and put on another. That means he changes roles. (He might not actually be wearing a hat.)

    As far as I know, the expression is always stated in the second person: "You can't have your cake and eat it too." The "you" in that sentence is not directed to anybody in particular.

    If I were "you", I would like to have the cake and eat it. In Chinese, we say you can't have fish and bear paw at one time.

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    Default Re: wear two hats

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I don't think it means the same- 'you can't have your cake and eat it' is different. It is used when someone wants to have something both ways to their advantage.
    I see. Would you think of other similar ones, Snow White?

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    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Thumbs up Re: wear two hats

    The idea of putting on different hats when you take on different roles comes from Edward de Bono. See also: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_07.htm

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    Default Re: wear two hats

    I take my transparent hat off to Ed.

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    Default Re: wear two hats


  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: wear two hats

    I'm not Snow White, I'm Grumpy.

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    Default Re: wear two hats

    because too many hats?

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