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  1. Offroad's Avatar
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    #1

    Smile cutting knife

    Please, dear friends and teachers,

    I'm looking for a new saying that say something could be good and bad at the same time.

    In Portuguese, people usually say: this a knife with two cutting sides, which means you'll get hurt anyway.

    Examples:

    Democracy is a knife with two cutting sides: you are free to do whatever you want, or almost, but in the other hand, you have to follow rules made by the mass, example, whether everyone decides to buy a very expensive car, wear exotic clothes, then you eventually will as well, it's a piece of c**p in my opinion.

    So, is there a saying for that in English?

    Thanks


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    #2

    Re: cutting knife

    It's similar to the Portuguese. You say, "It's a two-edged sword / a double-edged sword."
    (On the other hand).

  2. Offroad's Avatar
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    #3

    Smile Re: cutting knife

    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    It's similar to the Portuguese. You say, "It's a two-edged sword / a double-edged sword."
    (On the other hand).
    I knew it'd something to do with sword, just didn't know what exactly it was.

    then...

    Democracy is a double-edged sword, however, ON the other hand, still the lesser of all the evils, not just two.

    Is that sentence right?

    Thanks


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    #4

    Re: cutting knife

    Quote Originally Posted by marciobarbalho View Post
    I knew it'd something to do with sword, just didn't know what exactly it was.

    then...

    Democracy is a double-edged sword, however, ON the other hand, still the lesser of all the evils, not just two.

    Is that sentence right?

    Thanks
    Your original sentence was fine (except for the knife and the preposition) but there's a bit of a problem with this last one: with the phrase "on the other hand", you have to have:

    advantage........... on the other hand............. disadvantage
    OR
    disadvantage........... on the other hand.......... advantage

    In your original sentence you had this but you didn't have it in this last one.

  3. Offroad's Avatar
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    #5

    Smile Re: cutting knife

    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    Your original sentence was fine (except for the knife and the preposition) but there's a bit of a problem with this last one: with the phrase "on the other hand", you have to have:

    advantage........... on the other hand............. disadvantage
    OR
    disadvantage........... on the other hand.......... advantage

    In your original sentence you had this but you didn't have it in this last one.
    I think I did, look:

    Democracy is a double-edged sword, however, ON the other hand, still the lesser of all the evils, not just two.

    I mean 'double-edged sword' is not a good thing somehow. In my opinion no one should be ruled by the mass. Whether everybody decides use drugs and I don't, people is gonna start calling me crazy, old-fashioned, etc. [just an example, but pretty close to reality ]
    Then, what I meant is: Democracy is not that good, but is pretty much better than all systems out there.

    So, as days goes by I think my English is getting worse, so, could you proofread my text and ... if necessary... criticize my point?

    Thank you very much


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    #6

    Re: cutting knife

    Quote Originally Posted by marciobarbalho View Post
    I think I did, look:

    Democracy is a double-edged sword, however, ON the other hand, still the lesser of all the evils, not just two.

    I mean 'double-edged sword' is not a good thing somehow. In my opinion no one should be ruled by the mass. Whether everybody decides use drugs and I don't, people is gonna start calling me crazy, old-fashioned, etc. [just an example, but pretty close to reality ]
    Then, what I meant is: Democracy is not that good, but is pretty much better than all systems out there.

    So, as days goes by I think my English is getting worse, It can't be getting worse, it's very good indeed! so, could you proofread my text and ... if necessary... criticize my point? Which text would you like us to proofread?

    Thank you very much
    I think we may be talking at cross purposes. What I meant by your original sentence was this one:
    Democracy is a knife with two cutting sides: you are free to do whatever you want, or almost, but in the other hand, you have to follow rules made by the mass etc

    but that you can't use "on the other hand" in this sentence:
    Democracy is a double-edged sword, however, ON the other hand, still the lesser of all the evils, not just two.

    In your sentence above, in blue, the choice of "on the other hand" would be inappropriate in context.
    Last edited by naomimalan; 08-Oct-2008 at 13:43. Reason: italics needed

  4. Offroad's Avatar
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    #7

    Smile Re: cutting knife

    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    I think we may be talking at cross purposes. What I meant by your original sentence was this one:
    Democracy is a knife with two cutting sides: you are free to do whatever you want, or almost, but in the other hand, you have to follow rules made by the mass etc

    but that you can't use "on the other hand" in this sentence:
    Democracy is a double-edged sword, however, ON the other hand, still the lesser of all the evils, not just two.

    In your sentence above, in blue, the choice of "on the other hand" would be inappropriate in context.
    Ok, never mind, I think I need to listen to native speakers more often to avoid that kind of mistake. The fact is, my mother-tongue, which is Portuguese, still confuses me sometimes.
    By the way, do you know any Portuguese? If so, write down a sentence and I proofread if necessary!

    Thanks for helping out!

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    #8

    Re: cutting knife

    Im not a teacher.

    Hi marciobarbalho,

    There are a few varieties of the expression in question:

    1. two-edged sword = espada de dos filos = being such that two contrasting meanings, effects, or interpretations are possible: a two-edged compliment.

    2. cut both ways = have a mixed effect, have advantages and disadvantages. For example, Their solution will cut both ways; it'll take longer but is permanent. This metaphoric expression alludes to a double-edged sword.

    3. in two ways = in a twofold manner;

    The question of how I am to start the story properly I have tried to settle in two ways.

    Regards,

    V.

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    #9

    Smile Re: cutting knife

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    1. two-edged sword = espada de dos filos = faca de dois gumes.

    ou (or), espada de dois lados. (nobody says that, word-for-word translation):

    espada de dois lados
    sword of two sides

    In Portuguese, as I said before, a knife replaces the sword, at least, the knife is the lesser of these evils when it comes to hurting someone!

    2. cut both ways
    3. in two ways = in a twofold manner;

    2 and 3 work properly as well, but I personally believe the context requires an idiom or something like that.
    V.

    Thanks

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