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Thread: take the cake

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    #1

    take the cake

    "She's been opening my letters. That takes the cake!"

    Is it similar in meaning to "that sucks"?

    "You can't hold two passports. Dual citizenship is forbidden in our country. You can't have your cake and eat it too." OK?

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    #2

    Re: take the cake

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    "She's been opening my letters. That takes the cake!"

    Is it similar in meaning to "that sucks"? Ish. That is the most annoying, frustrating, stupid, irresponsible, etc thing she has done. Note that BrE prefers 'the biscuit'.

    "You can't hold two passports. Dual citizenship is forbidden in our country. You can't have your cake and eat it too." OK? Yes
    5jj

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    #3

    Re: take the cake

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    5jj
    Can we use it with future tenses? "If she does it, it will take the cake." ?
    "Take the cake" is always negative, right?

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    #4

    Re: take the cake

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    Can we use it with future tenses? "If she does it, it will take the cake." ? I don't think so.
    "Take the cake" is always negative, right? In the message it conveys, yes (although whenever I use the words 'always' or 'never' in talking about English, someone will soon appear with an example proving me wrong).
    5jj

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    #5

    Re: take the cake

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    5jj
    At least that's what my "Cambridge Idioms Dictionary" says.

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    #6

    Re: take the cake

    In AmE, "takes the cake" refers to something that is a superlative example of something that is bad or unbelievable.

    So, in your example - "She's been opening my letters" - you would need a bit more exposition in order to properly describe the situation as "taking the cake." For example:

    "She'd unjustly accused me of having an affair, and I denied it. I explained to her that all those nights I'd been working late at the office I was meeting with my superiors on an important account. She told me that she believed me, but now I find out that she's been opening my letters, and that really takes the cake!"

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    #7

    Re: take the cake

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch View Post
    In AmE, "takes the cake" refers to something that is a superlative example of something that is bad or unbelievable.

    So, in your example - "She's been opening my letters" - you would need a bit more exposition in order to properly describe the situation as "taking the cake."
    Well, for me, for anybody to open my letters at all is a superlative example of something that is bad or unbelievable.

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    #8

    Re: take the cake

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Well, for me, for anybody to open my letters at all is a superlative example of something that is bad or unbelievable.
    Nevertheless, there is a difference between describing something as generally rude or bad versus something that "takes the cake." When using that phrase, it usually requires some basis of comparison, i.e. "I knew she didn't trust me, but when she opened my letters that really took the cake!" If my husband opened my letters without my permission, I might describe his behavior with many rude adjectives, but I wouldn't use "takes the cake" unless I was relating it to a previous situation.

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    #9

    Re: take the cake

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch View Post
    in your example - "She's been opening my letters" - you would need a bit more exposition in order to properly describe the situation as "taking the cake."
    I think you have misunderstood me. In my first post I wrote of her opening my letters as: 'the most annoying, frustrating, stupid, irresponsible, etc thing she has done'. I would have thought that the four adjectives following my 'most', ie four superlatives, gave 'some basis of comparison'.

    Nevertheless, there is a difference between describing something as generally rude or bad versus something that "takes the cake." When using that phrase, it usually requires some basis of comparison, i.e. "I knew she didn't trust me, but when she opened my letters that really took the cake!" If my husband opened my letters without my permission, I might describe his behavior with many rude adjectives, but I wouldn't use "takes the cake" unless I was relating it to a previous situation.
    In a later post I said (underlining added): 'Well, for me, for anybody to open my letters at all is a superlative example of something that is bad or unbelievable'. It is using 'take the cake' that tells us this. We do not need further exposition.
    But, we may have to agree to differ on this.


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