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    #1

    a summer make

    One swallow does not a summer make,
    I think the complete form of this proverb is: 'One swallow does not make what a summer makes'
    But I think because of the third singular person (a summer) we should say 'makes'
    It's confusing for me. Would you plz give me a point?
    Thanks,
    Ata

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a summer make

    Quote Originally Posted by atabitaraf View Post
    One swallow does not a summer make,
    I think the complete form of this proverb is: 'One swallow does not make what a summer makes'
    But I think because of the third singular person (a summer) we should say 'makes'
    It's confusing for me. Would you plz give me a point?
    Thanks,
    Ata
    It means "Just because you see a swallow that does not mean it is summer." Swallows are generally seen in the summer and some people believe that once they have seen a swallow for the first time then summer has arrived.

    A slightly easier to understand version would be "one swallow does not make it [the season] summer."

    Just to note: what you quoted is the correct wording for the proverb - there are no other words required. The majority of BrE speakers will know "One swallow does not a summer make" quite well.

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    #3

    Re: a summer make

    How are we allowed to say "One swallow does not a summer make" instead of "One swallow does not make a summer" I mean the inverted form here should have a rule or maybe just this is an exception.
    Thanks,

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a summer make

    Quote Originally Posted by atabitaraf View Post
    How are we allowed to say "One swallow does not a summer make" instead of "One swallow does not make a summer" I mean the inverted form here should have a rule or maybe just this is an exception.
    Thanks,
    I forgot to mention the fact that the word order is simply very old English. If you look at a lot of old English (Shakespeare etc) you will see that the order of words used then is not always the same as the order now.

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    #5

    Re: a summer make

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I forgot to mention the fact that the word order is simply very old English. If you look at a lot of old English (Shakespeare etc) you will see that the order of words used then is not always the same as the order now.
    Ems is right. Here's another everyday example:

    'Neither a borrower nor a lender be', which is still said to people who are trying to borrow money from you.

    It's from Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the next line is

    'For loan oft loses both itself and friend'.

    In other words, you'll often lose both your money and the friend you lent it to.

    Rover

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    #6

    Re: a summer make

    [QUOTE=atabitaraf;807282]I mean the inverted form here should have a rule or maybe just this is an exception.

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Your question really interested me, so I went to Professor Google and found some

    interesting information to share with you:

    (a) No, there is probably no "rule."

    (b) The original quotation may have come from Aristotle (the famous Greek

    philosopher), and he probably wrote it in "correct" order!

    (i) It appears that some English translator decided to invert the words.

    (a) One technical word for this kind of inversion is hyperbaton.

    (c) This kind of inversion is often used in poetry because it sounds nice. Here is

    a famous line by Richard Lovelace (1618 - 1657):

    Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.

    (That's very beautiful, isn't it! It would not have the same effect or power if it were in

    "regular" order.)

    (d) And sometimes we use it in regular English because we want to be humorous:

    Teacher: I want each student to make a list of the most important things in life. You

    may not go home until you finish your list and give it to me.

    The Parser: Here you are, Teacher. May I go home now?

    Teacher: Excuse me, Parser, but two items do not a list make! Now get back to

    your desk and give me a list of at least 20 items.

    (P.S. This "item" idea was something I read in one of Google's results.)

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