Off topic: Help requested with a proverb
Thread poster: Narasimhan Raghavan

Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:07
English to Tamil
+ ...
Nov 19, 2003

My friend having a touching faith in my ability has posed the following question about completing a proverb, whose shortened form is given below: .
"every W has a W".
(supposed to be a proverb, am unable to complete it)
The only clue is: M twice but C once.

I cannot put this in the Kudoz section. It seems to be a brain teaser. Any help will be appreciated.
Thanks in advance,


Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:37
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
a guess Nov 19, 2003


Two existing English proverbs come into my mind:

Every rose has its thorn

Think twice, act once.

Is this what you meant?

Kind regards,
Csaba Ban


GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
Answer to "M twice but C once" Nov 19, 2003

"Measure twice, but cut once".

He who does not do so, will "measure once but cut twice."

The carpenter who only measures once is more likely to make a mistake, and will have to cut twice because the first cut was wrong. (Not to mention the wasted wood.)

It is the title of at least two different carpentry books: and


Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:07
English to Tamil
+ ...
Thanks for the input, but.. Nov 19, 2003

As I understand from my friend, the proverb is of the form "every W has a W". The first "W" is having the letter M twice and the second W has the letter C once.
I may be wrong. Hence my appeal to my colleagues.


IanW (X)
Local time: 00:37
German to English
+ ...
Every will has a way Nov 19, 2003

How about "Every will has a way"? Admittedly, the version I know is "Where there's a will there's a way", but it's still a possibility and the meaning remains the same.

And I think that the above reference to "measuring twice and cutting once" is what is meant, so perhaps there was a slight lapse in communication along the line.

Hope this helps



00000000 (X)
English to French
+ ...
Every dog gets his day Nov 19, 2003

My regards to your girlfriend.


lim0nka  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:37
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Every why has a wherefore. Nov 19, 2003

Just in case these are two separate proverbs.icon_wink.gif

Good luck,


Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
"every * has a *" Nov 19, 2003

If you enter this in Google, you get 462000 hits. It must be in there..icon_wink.gif


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:37
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
I like GoodWords' solution, but... Nov 19, 2003

"Measure twice, cut once" looks very likely for the M & C, but what about the Ws? Maybe "Every wood has a width?"


Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:37
French to English
Every wood has a warp... Nov 19, 2003

... but I don't think that's an actual proverb. The other possibility is that W is supposed to stand for 'word,' as a 'blank space,' in which case the other 2 M/1 C clue would make me think it's supposed to be "Every mom has a child," but now I know I'm getting off track and should return to my work before I derail completely.
Good luck with this.


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:37
Italian to English
Every cloud has a silver lining Nov 19, 2003

is the best known of the "Every...has a..." proverbs in English but doesn't explain the M and Cs.


Jason Roberts  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:37
Dutch to English
+ ...
Every why has a wherefore Nov 19, 2003

This has got to be it as a previous poster suggested, and the other one is absolutely positively "measure twice, cut once".

Just google both of those and see for yourself!

[Edited at 2003-11-19 23:19]


Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:07
English to Tamil
+ ...
I also tend to the view that there are 2 proverbs Nov 20, 2003

Initially I thought there was only one proverb with both the clues sets fitting it. Now that I have seen your postings, I feel that there are two. I have forwarded the replies to my friend (my ex-colleague, he is of my age), for confirmation.
Thanks to all the posters. Am looking forward to more inputs.


Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:07
English to Tamil
+ ...
Many thanks Nov 20, 2003

My friend confirmed that there are indeed two proverbs. I erred in thinking it was a single proverb with the second sentence being a clue for the first one.
He was very happy with the solutions. The answers accepted gratefully by him are:"Measure twice, cut once" and "Every wood has a warp".
He was amused that he was mistaken to be my girl friend!
I really feel nice in having such helpful colleagues.


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