Results 1 to 10 of 10
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 695
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    you can shake a carrot stick at

    Hi,

    So a healthful diet might actually be changing the expression of the gene, in effect turning it off. Which suggests that there might be more diet-gene interactions than you can shake a carrot stick at.

    What does "you can shake a carrot stick at" mean in this sentence?

    Thanks a lot

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 18,885
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    The idiom is "more than you can shake a stick at." I don't know where it came from, but it means "many."

    Because this is about dieting, and people eat carrot sticks as snacks (better than a candy bar if you're trying to lose weight), the author has made a little pun or clever use of language, changing "more than you can shake a stick at" to "more than you can shake a carrot stick at."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 11,818
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    I imagine the idiom comes from being surrounded by some sort of wild animal - perhaps wolves. If there is just one, or a few, you can ward them off with a stick.

    If there are more than you can shake a stick at, then you are in an unfortunate situation.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 695
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    Which suggests that there might be more diet-gene interactions than you can shake a carrot stick at.

    So how to understand the last sentence?

    Does it mean that "diet-gene interactions" are more than "carrot sticks"?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 23,265
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Which suggests that there might be more diet-gene interactions than you can shake a carrot stick at.

    So how to understand the last sentence?

    Does it mean that "diet-gene interactions" are more than "carrot sticks"?
    It means that there might be many more diet-gene interactions than they currently know about.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 695
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    Thanks a lot.

    I know the idiom means "many", and obviously, diet-gene interactions is more than we know, but "shake a carrot stick at" puzzles me.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 23,265
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Thanks a lot.

    I know the idiom means "many", and obviously, diet-gene interactions is more than we know, but "shake a carrot stick at" puzzles me.
    I don't understand how it could puzzle you after reading Barb's explanation, as well as the others. I can't think of a way of explaining it that doesn't already appear more than once in the above posts. Sorry.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 34,265
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #8

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Thanks a lot.

    I know the idiom means "many", and obviously, diet-gene interactions is more than we know, but "shake a carrot stick at" puzzles me.
    BarbD explained it really well - read her explanation again and see if you can get the nuance.

    I'll try putting it simply. The normal phrase is "more than one can shake a stick at" which means "many" (if you want the origin of the phrase, I'm sure Google will help).

    The piece is about dieting. Lots of people eat pieces of carrot, otherwise known as "carrot sticks" when they are trying to lose weight. The writer has tried to be clever by mixing the phrase "carrot sticks" into the phrase "more than you can shake a stick at", giving "... shake a carrot stick at".

    Personally, I don't think it's particularly well done and until I read Barb's explanation, I just assumed it was an error.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2011
    • Posts: 59
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #9

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    Not a teacher.

    I think we may be overlooking something here. A carrot stick may mean "a carrot on a stick"--a stick with a carrot dangling on a string attached to a person or horse or something:



    Naturally, a person chasing after a carrot on a stick will work tirelessly to attain the goal, only to never reach it. A carrot stick in that sentence could just be a joke about living an overly healthy lifestyle, where people starve themselves on salads (or carrots) and work out constantly just to be slim. Changing a person's genes may put an end to such a lifestyle, but there are so many genes, it's hard to know where to begin. Thus there are more genes than you can shake a (carrot) stick at.

    I hope this helps.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 23,265
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #10

    Re: you can shake a carrot stick at

    Quote Originally Posted by jahildebrandt View Post
    Not a teacher.

    I think we may be overlooking something here. A carrot stick may mean "a carrot on a stick"--a stick with a carrot dangling on a string attached to a person or horse or something:
    But that's a completely different concept, it's not called a "carrot stick", and it doesn't fit the context.

Similar Threads

  1. stick to or stick with+future progressive
    By ostap77 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 26-Aug-2011, 15:44
  2. To shake up
    By sondra in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 23-May-2011, 11:29
  3. TO SHAKE OFF
    By beachboy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 18-Mar-2011, 18:45
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Aug-2009, 12:51
  5. Sentence Proofread (Carrot)
    By thedaffodils in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 07-Jun-2008, 23:10

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
  •