6
   

Six of one, half dozen of the other

 
 
Reply Sun 10 May, 2020 11:31 pm
Well, we have the idiom of "six of one (and) half a dozen of the other." But coldjoint wrote "Six of one, half dozen of the other." Is "a" omittable here?

Background:
coldjoint wrote:

Quote:
I never cease to be amazed at the right's ability to sacrifice the lives of others.

I never ceased to be amazed at the Left trying to make people government dependent so they can control them, while flooding the country with illegal immigrants. Six of one, half dozen of the other.


from the tread: monitoring Trump and relevant contemporary events.
 
View best answer, chosen by oristarA
Borat Sister
  Selected Answer
 
  3  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 01:04 am
Technically probably not correct, but understandable.

oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 04:27 am
@Borat Sister,
Thank you.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 05:11 am
@oristarA,
I generally omit the "a". There is nothing grammatically wrong with saying "half dozen".
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 05:14 am
I just did a little more digging

"half dozen" is a phrasal adjective. It is perfectly correct (as in coldjoint's usage).

This source suggests that using the "a", as in "half a dozen", should be avoided.

https://books.google.com/books?id=z_VmtjAU01YC&pg=PA165&lpg=PA165&dq=usage+%22half+dozen%22&source=bl&ots=6IhR5l2XF4&sig=ACfU3U3H38IgqvrmwP8TLnPnZ0r-VCgtKQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjn--Xp1qvpAhXLlHIEHbsWB1gQ6AEwEHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=usage%20%22half%20dozen%22&f=false

oristarA
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 07:42 am
@maxdancona,
Good catch. Thank you max.

maxdancona wrote:

This source suggests that using the "a", as in "half a dozen", should be avoided.


Here you've misread it. It says "Avoid a half a dozen," rather than avoiding "a" in "half a dozen", which is correct.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 07:49 am
@oristarA,
Oh, you are right.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 08:00 am
Half-dozen seems more correct to me...with the dash.

I was stationed in England for a while...and have an ear for British usage. I cannot imagine an Englishman using half a dozen.

Anyway, I used to work on a construction gang, where the boss was not the sharpest tool in the shed. His favorite expression was, "Ehhh...six of one, a dozen of another."

Yeah, we all laughed.
ascribbler
 
  3  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 08:38 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
I was stationed in England for a while...and have an ear for British usage. I cannot imagine an Englishman using half a dozen.


To use one ear may be regarded as a misfortune, to use two ears looks like ribaldry, but to not imagine using 'half a dozen' is unheard of.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 09:04 am
@oristarA,
The 'a' may or may not be omittable. cj certainly is.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 10:25 am
@Frank Apisa,
You were stationed in Lincolnshire, we speak very differently in the beautiful South. Half a dozen is as common as half dozen.
cherrie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 May, 2020 04:39 pm
Half dozen sounds odd to me. I've always used half a dozen.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2020 06:46 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

You were stationed in Lincolnshire, we speak very differently in the beautiful South. Half a dozen is as common as half dozen.


Never realized that.

I finally got used to the difference between (American) "she's in the hospital"...and the (British) "she's in hospital."

I never did master the "half six" stuff.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2020 07:25 am
@Frank Apisa,
Despite our relative small size we have a huge range of accents. When Chaucer published the Canterbury Tales it was the first foray into standard English. Before that various types of English were so different they were like foreign languages. There was a story going round about merchants who went from one part of the country to another who had problems buying eggs because nobody could understand what they were saying.

The accent/use of dialect is a reminder, and the English spoken in Lincolnshire would have come from old Norse, down here it’s Anglo Saxon. In Newcastle they still call a child a bairn which is very similar to the Swedish word for child.

When I was on holiday in Crete the barman had learnt his English off a Geordie and I had to tell him that most English people don’t call kids barns, a lot don’t even know what it means.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2020 08:57 am
@izzythepush,
The Anglo-Saxon (Old English) word for an egg was ey, and the plural was eyern (the modern German word for eggs is eier). Egg derives from Norse or Danish usage, or both. It was only in the mid-14th century that there was enough travel between regions of England--as Edward III assembled his army--that the English began to notice these differences. Egg took and stuck because London bought her produce from the surrounding regions, and in Essex and Kent, they said egges. Several diarists commented on the strange speech of the people they encountered as Edward assembled his army.
0 Replies
 
 

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