Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

Being the Worst at What you Do Best

Posted by Neal on July 18, 2004

I was listening to one of our many kids’ CDs in the car the other day. That’s (many (kids’ CDs)), not ((many kids’) CDs), BTW. Anyway, it was from the Ralph’s World series, and the first track is a really catchy song that starts off like this:

Everybody does what they do best the best.

I usually dwell on this line during the rest of the song, and end up thinking about it several times in the few days after I play the CD. No, it’s not the plural they with the singular everybody antecedent that gets to me—I got over that grammar issue years and years ago. What I think about is the 4-way ambiguity in this line, with two readings that are tautologies and two that are probably not true, but are interesting to think about. Allow me to explain… more

One Response to “Being the Worst at What you Do Best”

  1. […] by Neal on July 28, 2004 Several VC readers responded to my post about the hook: Everybody does what they do best the […]

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