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Don't count your chickens Options
AlyonaSunlight
Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 1:06:59 PM

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Hello!

I've found out that there are 2 variants of the idiom "Don't count your chickens..."

1. ... before they hatch.
2. ... before they are hatched.

Which one is more commonly used?


Thank you in advance!
thar
Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 1:16:18 PM

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To me, 2

Quote:
don’t count your chickens (before they’re hatched)

used for telling someone not to make plans that depend on the success of something until they are certain that it is successful




To me it just scans better. But mostly it just sounds right because it is what I am used to.


But I see both versions are listed in different dictionaries so others might feel differently.
Maybe AmE /BrE, maybe not.


It is one of those flexible verbs. They hatch (they come out of the shell), and they are hatched (they are 'born'). Same thing.
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 3:06:11 PM

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I hear both, and often say both.


1. ... before they hatch.
2. ... before they're hatched.

We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
thefreedicci
Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 10:12:08 PM

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Excelent
AlyonaSunlight
Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 1:29:55 AM

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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Thank you all, guys!)))
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 12:53:37 PM
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Alyona -

This saying became so common that now people don't usually say the last bit...so you're saved!! You don't have to remember which to say...just say "Don't count your chickens!" (see, sometimes English get LESS complicated instead of MORE complicated.Dancing )
AlyonaSunlight
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 6:47:12 AM

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Romany, thank you!! I LOVE this trend)))
AlyonaSunlight
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 6:47:14 AM

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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Romany, thank you!! I LOVE this trend)))
thar
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 9:22:04 AM

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(I know this is not an original thought, but that doesn't stop me voicing it anyway!)
I think this pattern of omitting the second half of adages is not about it being shorter - it is cementing the bond that 'you know what I mean, because we share a culture'. Of course language does that in the first place, but idioms and adages do it more deeply. After all, they generally make sense when completed - better the devil you know [than the devil you don't], don't count your chickens [before they are hatched], the pot calling the kettle [black] - any saying that you can think of. In its entirety it may be strange, but it is logical.

Just say the first part, though, and the other can have no way of working out what you are talking about. Don't count your chickens... OK, I won't. No chicken census for me! But what has that got to do with being cautious?

It only has meaning if you the listener can fill in the missing part, because you know what the idiom means. So by saying it, and listening to it, you are making that contract that you have a common culture of adages and idioms that is much more than just language.
A linguistic handshake. It would be a hug, but in this case it is British. Whistle
Romany
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 4:57:12 PM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Yes - actually there might be a modicum of that. I find/found that sort of feeling if I'm able to cotton on to things in the same way if I'm speaking another language.

But, speaking only for myself in regard to dropping whole chunks of words from sayings: I HATE to waste words (not that you'd get an inkling of that from my posts!)...and if I know that people are going to know exactly what words are going to come out of my mouth, find myself overcome with boredome at the futility of it all.Boo hoo!

As, I assume, do the people soundlessly precipitating the next leaden drop to fall from my mouth.Sick

I prefer saving them from such discomfortWhistle

thermoer
Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2019 12:29:30 AM

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before they are hatched
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