Posted by Smokey Stover on November 27, 2007
In Reply to: What's not to love posted by pamela on November 27, 2007
: : : : Just wondering the meaning of "what's not to love" and how, when can I use such a phrase?
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: : : This phrase is a sarcastic way of saying that something has no good features. It may have begun as a form of praise, but I always hear it used to mean the opposite. ("Big deal!" has a similar history.) "What's not to like?" seems the more common version. I believe it originated with Yiddish-speaking immigrants in the United States. ~rb
: : That's interesting. Here in the UK, I can only recall hearing it as a form of praise, which is how it began in the USA in the 1970s, as far as I can discover. It hasn't been used here for so long, so maybe we haven't developed the ironic form yet.
: Here in Australia it's used both in the straightforward sense ("What's not to love about this movie? I love Matthew McConaughey in all the movies that he has starred in; he is brilliant." yourmovies.com.au/movies/index.cfm?action=movie_info&title_id=13986 ) and sarcastically ("What's not to love? The price for a start. I like my laptops to not explode either." forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/541133.html). Pamela
I've heard it only in a positive way, Pamela notwithstanding. However, it can't just be dropped in anywhere, and I would avoid it unless I was certain I was using it correctly. Sometimes you can recite the virtues of something (or perhaps less often someone), and round it out with this phrase, sometimes even one virtue is enough. Don't try to use it sarcastically, as you are likely to be misunderstood. And bear in mind that it is a colloquialism, so avoid it anywhere that you don't wish to be colloquial.