Apus' post on flipped phrases reminded me of the saying '(you can't) have your cake and eat it', which is an inversion of '(you can't) eat your cake and have it'. The original version, in my opinion, is superior; it is easy to have a cake then eat it, but quite a feat to eat a cake and still have it.
However I doubt we can blame our colonial cousins for flipping this particular phrase – first recorded in 1546, 'eat your cake and have it' was the more common form on both sides of the Atlantic right through until the 19th century. Quite what prompted the inversion I haven't been able to discover... can anyone help?
The ambiguous Oxford comma
1 week ago