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  1. #1
    dean1 is offline Junior Member
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    Default teach fish how to swim

    Hi. I want to know whether ' teach fish how to swim' is a valid saying or not.

    thank you

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Teach your grandmother to suck eggs

  3. #3
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Quote Originally Posted by dean1 View Post
    Hi. I want to know whether ' teach fish how to swim' is a valid saying or not.

    thank you
    I wouldn't call it a saying. It could be a good negative metaphor, however.

    Let's say that a person starts to work for a company, and the comapny requires all new employees to take a course in word processing. The new emplyee, with twenty years of experience with that particular program, might say. "In my case, that is like teaching a fish to swim."

  4. #4
    dean1 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Hi thank you Tdol and Mike.

    I want to know which one is more common, 'teach fish to swim' or 'teach your grandmother to suck eggs'?

    thanks

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    In BrE, I don't hear 'teach a fish to swim' much at all. Let's see what the others say.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Quote Originally Posted by dean1 View Post
    Hi thank you Tdol and Mike.

    I want to know which one is more common, 'teach fish to swim' or 'teach your grandmother to suck eggs'?

    thanks
    Neither is very common in AE. I don't even know what the "eggs" one means.

  7. #7
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Nice explanation given elsewhere - in order to use the contents of an egg without breaking the shell, a hole was made at both ends and the contents sucked out. I suppose skill was needed, and the older the person, the more skilled they might be.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Nice explanation given elsewhere - in order to use the contents of an egg without breaking the shell, a hole was made at both ends and the contents sucked out. I suppose skill was needed, and the older the person, the more skilled they might be.
    That's interesting. "Suck eggs" has a decidedly negative connotation in AmE.

  9. #9
    dean1 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Nice explanation given elsewhere - in order to use the contents of an egg without breaking the shell, a hole was made at both ends and the contents sucked out. I suppose skill was needed, and the older the person, the more skilled they might be.

    Hi. I understand what 'suck eggs' means, but I dont understand why they do it. Why dont they simply break the egg and eat it, instead of going through the hassle making holes at both ends and sucking out the content??

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Hey, it's an idiom- they're not meant to be comprehensible. BTW, the egg idiom is used in BrE.

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