Results 1 to 9 of 9

    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 1,157
    #1

    His excuses cut no ice with me.

    Hello.

    Definition of cut, Macmillan Online Dictionary: Free American English Dictionary and Thesaurus
    cut no ice/not cut any ice (with someone)
    to fail to impress or influence someone
    His excuses cut no ice with me.


    "His excuses cut no ice with me."
    Can I say "His excuses don't work with me" instead?

    Thank you.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #2

    Re: His excuses cut no ice with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Hello.

    Definition of cut, Macmillan Online Dictionary: Free American English Dictionary and Thesaurus
    cut no ice/not cut any ice (with someone)
    to fail to impress or influence someone
    His excuses cut no ice with me.


    "His excuses cut no ice with me."
    Can I say "His excuses don't work with me" instead?

    Thank you.
    Well, the general idea would be the same, but saying that excuses "don't work" might be weaker and less specific than saying they "don't impress." Although I suppose that depends on the context. Maybe there would be situations where an assertion of "failure to work" would be the perfect remark.

    One consideration is that "cuts no ice" is somewhat tired out as a hackneyed expression. I think its best use might be reserved for sayings made in a jocular tone -- a light-hearted denial of influence:

    "Santa Claus's list cuts no ice with me! I'm fixing to be naughty!"


    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 394
    #3

    Re: His excuses cut no ice with me.

    "His excuses cut no ice with me."
    Neither do they cut any mustard. Same thing.

    Greg


    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 1,157
    #4

    Re: His excuses cut no ice with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by dragn View Post
    Neither do they cut any mustard. Same thing.

    Greg
    Isn't cut the mustard correct?

    (not) cut the mustard to (not) be as good as expected or required: I didnít cut the mustard as a hockey player.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #5

    Re: His excuses cut no ice with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Isn't cut the mustard correct?

    (not) cut the mustard to (not) be as good as expected or required: I didn’t cut the mustard as a hockey player.
    I would use "cut the mustard" to mean "live up to expectations," more than to mean "impress."

    But even so, I would feel free to say "It didn't cut any ice" or "It didn't cut any mustard."

    I might say, "That cuts no ice with me, buster!"

    Or "What a mess. This cut no mustard at all, did it."


    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 394
    #6

    Re: His excuses cut no ice with me.

    Niggling aside, you may rest assured that virtually any native speaker would say either:

    "His excuses don't cut any ice with me."
    "His excuses don't cut any mustard with me."


    ...and convey the exact same meaning. Don't lose sight of the context, Daruma. Someone is trying to make excuses for his failure or misdeeds, and the speaker isn't buying it. That person isn't necessarily trying to impress the speaker with his excuses, he's trying to schmooze him so he won't get punished! He's trying to come up with convincing excuses that the speaker will accept in order to defend himself. Well, those excuses aren't quite good enough, and the speaker doesn't accept them. He isn't influenced by them.

    Trust me. Both ice and mustard work equally well in the given context.

    Greg


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #7

    Re: His excuses cut no ice with me.

    I think her question involved the shift from "cut THE mustard" to "cut ANY mustard."

    I think she was asking about the permissibility of changing an idiom.


    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 1,157
    #8

    Re: His excuses cut no ice with me.

    > I think her question involved the shift from "cut THE mustard" to "cut ANY mustard."

    Yes, it did.

    > I think she was asking about the permissibility of changing an idiom.

    Yes, I was.


    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 394
    #9

    Re: His excuses cut no ice with me.

    Now that I think about it, I believe we actually have two different idioms on our hands, both involving a certain yellow condiment:

    to not cut the mustard—to not be as good as expected; to not meet a certain standard; to not be good enough to be acceptable in some way. Normally used in the negative sense.

    "Tom did his best to pass Physics 101, but he couldn't cut the mustard."

    to not cut any mustard (with sb)—to not have any sway or influence with someone; to not be good enough or sufficient in some way to change someone's decision or opinion (essentially the same as to cut no ice or to not cut any ice). Again, normally negative.

    "Your fancy clothes and phony British accent don't cut any mustard with me, Percy. I think you're a total loser!"

    I've heard this second expression used in this manner on numerous occasions, and so it seems to me that these are two different idioms for two fundamentally different situations. It is possible, however, that the second usage is regional. The mere fact that I've heard it before doesn't make it standard throughout the English-speaking world.

    I'd be curious to hear opinions from other native speakers. Whaddya think?

    Greg

    P.S. About changing idioms: some you cannot change at all, some allow some cosmetic grammatical shifts. You just have to pay close attention to how people use them.
    Last edited by dragn; 17-Sep-2009 at 07:31.

Similar Threads

  1. had better + past tense?
    By linhtho0211 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 25-Feb-2009, 09:13
  2. excuses
    By ewelina in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 22-Mar-2006, 18:40

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •