Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Saying: All work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy)

A couple of days ago, one colleague of mine asked me how to say someone working all the time and never relax, and she said it has the word 'Jack' in it.

I guess many of your have heard of this one like my colleague,

All work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy)

I know the first part, not the second. Well, that doesn't really matter, now I know, but the thing that I find interesting is how widespread this "All ...... and no ......" pattern is and how it has evolved.

For those of you who attended my recent Level 3, I'm sure you still remember the US slang,

All show (and) no go

which is used to describe someone or something that looks good but does not perform as promised.

Eg: That shiny car is actually all show and no go. It runs at a maximum speed of 40 mph.
Eg: Good-looking Jim is all show and no go. At the age of 30, he has never had a girlfriend.

And like I have asked in the class, what is the meaning of

No show (and) all go?

I guess you can tell me right away.

But there's more, because of this pattern, people has expanded it into many other variations such as,
  1. All hat (and) no cattle
  2. All pain (and) no gain
  3. All killer (and) no filler
  4. All paper (and) no news
  5. All atmospherics (and) no climate

So it is obvious to me that there is no restriction as to how you want to create your own version with this pattern. Why not we all try to use some creativity and make some of our own ones? Maybe some day in the future, people will use what you have created as their slang?

"All acceptance and no question makes one a limited learner" -- Locky