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  1. #11
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Quote Originally Posted by dean1 View Post
    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??

    In order to decorate the shell for, say, Easter celebrations.

  2. #12
    dean1 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Thanks you all.

  3. #13
    curmudgeon's Avatar
    curmudgeon is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    'Teaching a fish to swim' is to do something which is a waste of time, as it already knows how to swim. A bit like, but not quite, like 'trying to teach an old dog new tricks'.

  4. #14
    dean1 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    'Teaching a fish to swim' is to do something which is a waste of time, as it already knows how to swim. A bit like, but not quite, like 'trying to teach an old dog new tricks'.
    hi. Does 'trying to tach an old dog new tricks' mean trying to teach someone something that he/she is impossible to master no matter how?

    cheers

  5. #15
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    That's the idea, though the reason for the problem is usually age or being set in their ways and unwilling to change.

  6. #16
    curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    That's the idea, though the reason for the problem is usually age or being set in their ways and unwilling to change.
    Or that they already know

  7. #17
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    Yup, that too.

  8. #18
    Stephen_A is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: teach fish how to swim

    It seems to me to be a literal transliteration from Chinese. That's not so say it wouldn't work as a metaphor but it would have a certain non-native flavour to it.

  9. #19
    mfwills is offline Junior Member
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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
    To teach a fish to swim is to engage in any obviously unnecessary activity. What that might have to do with your grandmother sucking eggs is totally beyond me.

    A much more apt similar expression might be "hauling coal to Newcastle." Newcastle was/is a coal mining center; there would be absolutely no point in hauling coal there, as it already exists in abundance.

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