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    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #1

    Red face Care kills a cat.

    (a) Care kills a cat.
    (b) Curiosity killed the cat.
    Why do we use the present tense in (a) but the past tense in (b)?
    Does (a) and (b) have the same meaning?

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    #2

    Re: Care kills a cat.

    a) is not only used in the past tense:
    Curiosity killed the cat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Care kills a cat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aieda_Chiang View Post
    (a) Care kills a cat.
    (b) Curiosity killed the cat.
    Why do we use the present tense in (a) but the past tense in (b)?
    Does (a) and (b) have the same meaning?
    I don't remember ever hearing (a). But there's a song in one of the Savoy Operas with the line 'Once a cat was killed by care' (which I've never understood) - so I guess it may be a proverb. Generally, the past simple refers to a proverbial event (distinguished with the - She smiled like the cat that got the cream) while the present refers to a commonplace tendency.

    b


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #4

    Re: Care kills a cat.

    I found this on a cat-lovers' site:

    Our modern saying curiosity killed the cat is actually a spin-off of an old saying that really had nothing at all to do with the cat's natural sleuthing abilities! In the 16th century, there was a saying, "care kills a cat". This statement meant that cats seemed to be very cautious, careful and worrisome creatures, and too much anxiety can be bad for one's health, even to the point of sending one to an early grave. A cat, then, could be killed by excessive "care" as indeed could a human. Over the years, the meaning of the word "care" changed, and the word "curiosity" was substituted in the phrase, intending to explain that this was a trait that got both people and cats into trouble sometimes!




    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #5

    Re: Care kills a cat.

    Thanks! You guys' iinformation is very useful.

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