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  1. moonlike's Avatar
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    #1

    What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    Hi
    Could you help me get this joke?

    A visitor was walking round the gardens of a monastery on a very hot and sunny day. He was admiring the lovely flowers and plants in the garden and said :"How wonderful the works of God are!"
    The old monk working in the garden lifted his head and said :"Yes! but you should have seen the garden when He had it to Himself! "
    Thanks a million.
    Being a non-native teacher, I'm so thrilled being in such a superb forum.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    Before people came and messed it up.
    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.

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    #3

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    It's hardly a joke in my opinion, but what do I know. I've always had trouble understanding God jokes.

    The standard way of introducing direct speech is with a comma:

    He was admiring the lovely flowers and plants in the garden and said, "How wonderful the works of God are!"


    The old monk working in the garden lifted his head and said, "Yes! but you should have seen the garden when He had it to Himself!"

    Notice that there is no space before the comma and a space after it. If you're sure you want to use the colon, you should still remember this rule about spaces. I have also deleted the unnecessary space between ! and " at the end of the second sentence.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 18-Jul-2012 at 06:09.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    I don't consider it a joke either.
    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.

  4. moonlike's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    Thanks Barb. Oh! yeah, it's "have something all to yourself". I totally had forgotten it, honestly I had checked the dictionary but I don't know why I couldn't find it. Thanks a lot.

    Thanks birdeen for the notice. You're right I should use a "comma" not a "colon". It's one of the old school habits. Regarding the space, thanks a lot. Honestly speaking, it has always been a nuisance.
    Being a non-native teacher, I'm so thrilled being in such a superb forum.

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    #6

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    I like this joke.

    The old monk had worked very hard to create a beautiful garden and thought he deserved the praise. Before he started – when God had had it to himself – it had been rough wasteland.

    Rover

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    #7

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    I like this joke.

    The old monk had worked very hard to create a beautiful garden and thought he deserved the praise. Before he started – when God had had it to himself – it had been rough wasteland.
    As I said, I rarely get jokes about God. Thanks.

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    #8

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlike View Post
    Thanks birdeen for the notice. You're right I should use a "comma" not a "colon". It's one of the old school habits. Regarding the space, thanks a lot. Honestly speaking, it has always been a nuisance.
    You can try to think about it this way: when there's a line wrap in that place, where do you want your punctuation mark to land? If there's a space before it, it will end up in the next line, sticking to the next word. If there's a space after it, it will stay in the current one or go to the next line together with the word preceding it.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 18-Jul-2012 at 12:09.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    As I said, I rarely get jokes about God. Thanks.
    I'm not sure of Rover's 'joke' interpretation. Having been brought up within spitting distance of a monastery, I never came across a monk who thought like that. Thiking like that would be, in their terms 'sinful'.

    Rather than a joke I'd call it a phiosophical paradox. If she'd been around to see it 'when He had it to Himself' He wouldn't have had it to Himself.

    But however it's interpreted, I think the OP just wondered about the expression so I don't want to start a discussion about the cardinal sins.

    b

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    #10

    Re: What does it mean "he had it to Himself"?

    I'll stick with Rover's interpretation because it's the only one that makes it a joke in my opinion. And I like the joke now too.

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