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I suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too

English translation: I guess you cannot have the best of both worlds//you cannot have it both ways

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:I suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too
English translation:I guess you cannot have the best of both worlds//you cannot have it both ways
Entered by: vitaminBcomplex
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20:04 Jan 17, 2008
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
English term or phrase: I suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too
A lady muses on her perception by her friends and her husband. Her friends call her “forceful” because she’s able to take care of her own (it’s in the early 50s), even when her husband is gone for several days on business. She’s perfectly okay with his absence, as she finds a rest from their otherwise entertaining and rather tiring routine – it’s an opportunity to stay at home and relax. The only trouble is that he (the husband, Luis) takes it for granted that she doesn’t make a trouble of it:
“But the fact that he (Luis) took it so much as a matter of course that she wouldn’t mind, for some reason this nettled her, although she couldn’t find a logical explanation for her annoyance. ‘I suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too,’ she would say to herself at least once during each of his absences. If you had spent your childhood astride a horse, riding with your four brothers around the fifty thousand acres of an estate, it was natural that you should become the sort of woman she had become, and you could hardly expect men to feel protective toward you.”
vitaminBcomplex
Local time: 19:55
I guess you cannot have the best of both worlds//you cannot have it both ways
Explanation:
In my previous answer I did not realize the asker wanted an English into English translation, and I gave a Spanish equivalent.

I am now offering my take of the phrase in English.

Selected response from:

Nelida Kreer
Uruguay
Local time: 13:55
Grading comment
thanx, niki
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +18you can't have two things that are incompatible
Mark Berelekhis
4 +4I suppose one cannot have a really good thing and then want something that is incompatible with it
Mark Nathan
4 +2I guess you cannot have the best of both worlds//you cannot have it both ways
Nelida Kreer
3 +1comment NFP
Bernhard Sulzer


  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +18
i suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too
you can't have two things that are incompatible


Explanation:
A popular idiom.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/have_one's_cake_and_eat_it,_too

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 mins (2008-01-17 20:09:48 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The link got cut off somehow, here are a few more:

have your cake and eat it (too)
to have or do two good things that it is usually impossible to have or do at the same time. He wants to have his cake and eat it. He wants the security of marriage and the excitement of affairs. You can't have your cake and eat it. If you want better local services, you have to pay more tax.

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/you can't+have+your+cake+and+eat+it

http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/have your cake ...



Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 12:55
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 206

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  kavorka
2 mins
  -> Thank you, kavorka.

agree  Mihaela Ghiuzeli: Yes. That's what I meant but I hid the answer because of some typos.
3 mins
  -> Thank you, MGhiuzeli. Please feel free to resubmit your answer typo-free.

agree  Jim Tucker: Yes; the expression would make a lot more sense if it were "Eat one's cake and (still) have it, too" - unless "have" is being used in the sense of "eat", and it is strictly a linguistic play on the verbs.
11 mins
  -> Thank you, Jim. When I was learning English, this expression would give me trouble for that very reason.

agree  María Teresa Taylor Oliver: Here it is (it got cut off because of the spaces): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Have_one's_cake_and_eat_it_too
18 mins
  -> Thank you, Maria!

agree  xxxmistahara
20 mins
  -> Thank you, Mistahara.

agree  Jack Doughty
33 mins
  -> Thank you, Jack.

agree  Dorota Nowakówna
42 mins
  -> Thank you, Dorota.

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
43 mins
  -> Thank you, Marju.

agree  Mark Nathan: but see below
46 mins
  -> Thank you, Mark. A good additional explanation.

agree  Madeleine MacRae Klintebo: Agree with Jim. The English proverb doesn't really make sense. In Swedish it's the other way around - first eat, then have.
51 mins
  -> Thank you, Madeleine. It is a testament to the chaos that is the English language.

agree  Patricia Fierro, M. Sc.
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Patricia.

agree  Bernhard Sulzer
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Bernard.

agree  Dana Rinaldi
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Dana.

agree  Claire Chapman: One cannot save or keep (hold in one's use... or... possession - Webster's) something after it has been consumed.
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Claire.

agree  Rusinterp
4 hrs
  -> Thank you, Rusinterp.

agree  orientalhorizon
5 hrs
  -> Thank you, oriental.

agree  Patricia Townshend
14 hrs
  -> Thank you, Patricia.

agree  Cristina Santos
1 day2 hrs
  -> Thank you, Cristina.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
i suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too
I suppose one cannot have a really good thing and then want something that is incompatible with it


Explanation:
I would have said this as an agree with Mark's answer, but there was not room.

My point is that this expression is usually used in a context where people are not really complaining. The implication is that they have managed to get "the main thing", and they acknowledge that to expect to get this other thing as well would probably be unreasonable (impractical, logically impossible etc.) .

Mark Nathan
France
Local time: 18:55
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 88

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: ...or just plain greedy/ asking too much
10 mins
  -> exactly

agree  Bernhard Sulzer
57 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  Rusinterp
3 hrs
  -> Thanks

agree  Tony M: Yes, that's quite an important nuance, especially in Asker's given context
11 hrs
  -> Thanks Tony
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
i suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too
comment NFP


Explanation:
the answers above explain the idiom, but don't really explain the saying for the context.

She does not mind being alone, she actually takes pleasure in it but because her husband so much as expects her to be okay with it (without him), something's amiss, she can't really enjoy being alone.
She is not quite sure why that is, but she just thinks, oh well, you can't have both things/have it all (= have the cake and eat it too) = she can't ask for the ultimate pleasure (= eat the cake) which, according to the last line of the context, is actually "men/her husband "also" being protective/loving towards her."
It's the dichotomy of enjoying being alone/free and desiring also "the protective feeling." These seem mutually exclusive/incompatible although she craves both, and in her case they are, because if her husband were more protective, she would probably feel/be less free.

so she can't really have both - feel/be alone (free) + be/feel protected = absolutely happy.
And by saying "you can't have your cake and eat it too" she acknowledges that.


Bernhard Sulzer
United States
Local time: 12:55
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  kmtext: Yes, that's it exactly
10 hrs
  -> thank you very much, kmtext!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
i suppose one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too
I guess you cannot have the best of both worlds//you cannot have it both ways


Explanation:
In my previous answer I did not realize the asker wanted an English into English translation, and I gave a Spanish equivalent.

I am now offering my take of the phrase in English.



Nelida Kreer
Uruguay
Local time: 13:55
Native speaker of: Spanish
Grading comment
thanx, niki

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.
14 hrs
  -> Thank you Nicole!!!

agree  Christina Keating: This is exactly what it means.
2 days12 hrs
  -> Thanks Christina!!! Your OK is certainly appreciated!!
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Changes made by editors
Jan 18, 2008 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO
Jan 17, 2008:
Kudoz queueIn queue » Public


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