winner take all/dog eat dog world -- grammar?
Thread poster: xxxOlaf
xxxOlaf
Local time: 11:51
English to German
Apr 7, 2008

Because of the elections I hear the phrase winner take all system a lot and was wondering why it's not called winner takes all and whether this phrase and the similar dog eat dog world is considered slang or is grammatically correct.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
adjectives Apr 7, 2008

Olaf wrote:

Because of the elections I hear the phrase winner take all system a lot and was wondering why it's not called winner takes all and whether this phrase and the similar dog eat dog world is considered slang or is grammatically correct.


These are adjectives qualifying nouns and should - strictly speaking - be hyphenated.

It's a dog-eat-dog world / a winner-take-all system

Why they are not in the 3rd person is probably related to the infinitive (without to) form being preferable for making an adjective.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
The Misha
Local time: 05:51
Russian to English
+ ...
Right on, Lia! Apr 7, 2008

That's exactly what I was going to suggest. Cheers!

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why there's no S at the end Apr 7, 2008

I always understood these verbs as being in the imperative. Commands don't generally have an S at the end.

I, too, prefer to see these terms hyphenated, though the hyphenation of compound adjectives seems to be on the decline.

[Edited at 2008-04-07 18:27]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
as Steven says... Apr 8, 2008

though more precisely it's a subjunctive, short for:

"may/let (the) winner take all"

You find a similar construction (for example) in:

"Every man for himself, and (the) Devil take the hindmost"

[Edited at 2008-04-08 02:01]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
agree Apr 8, 2008

Jim Tucker wrote:

though more precisely it's a subjunctive, short for:

"may/let (the) winner take all"

You find a similar construction (for example) in:

"Every man for himself, and (the) Devil take the hindmost"

[Edited at 2008-04-08 02:01]


Preisely Jim, the original phrase would have been the subjunctive, formed with expressions like "may" or "let" combined with the infinitive without "to", then converted to an adjective form with hyphens.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:51
Spanish to English
winner takes all Apr 8, 2008

My understanding that the phrase is winner-takes -all and dog-eat-dog

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Peter Winch  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:51
Japanese to English
+ ...
as David says Apr 9, 2008

I learnt the phrase as "winner-takes-all", but it is arguable whether it is an imperative, more often it seems to be a statement of fact.

Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

winner take all/dog eat dog world -- grammar?

Advanced search







WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search