The Hatter, the Hare, and the Dormouse had it right, you know.

Mad Hatter: You might as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same as “I eat what I see!”
March Hare: You might just as well say that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like!”
Dormouse: You might just as well say that “I breathe when I sleep” is the same thing as “I sleep when I breathe!”

They’re not the same thing at all, really, even though poor Alice tried to say that “I mean what I say” is the same as “I say what I mean.”

How did I arrive at this literary source material? By way of a friend who shared this image with me, which I now share with all of you.

No word on whether AT&T responded to this with a corrected Tweet or not. I could hope, but I won’t.

I’m reminded of a handout I created during my tenure at TSR, Inc. about how word order changes meaning. The word “only” isn’t much of a word, really, having a mere four letters and two syllables–but watch how the sentence meaning changes with the position of this lowly modifier (it can be an adjective or an adverb or even a conjunction depending on placement).

Only the bear ate the hunter. (There were other animals, but the bear’s the only one that ate the hunter.)

The only bear ate the hunter. (No other bears were around, and the other animals are innocent.)

The bear only ate the hunter. (The bear didn’t kill the hunter, but he did eat him.)

The bear ate only the hunter. (The bear ignored the wife and kids, but ate the hunter.)

The bear ate the only hunter. (There weren’t any other hunters.)

Perhaps I should send this to AT&T’s social media peeps. Then again–naah. I need the blog fodder, y’know.

 

 

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