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Posted by Brian Kelly on May 17, 2000

In Reply to: Phrases posted by mike garratt on May 17, 2000

: There's no smoke without fire

If something has all the outward characteristics then it's likely that all the other attributes, when examined, will confirm the initial diagnosis.

In other words (and by the look of that first sentence you'll need other words), if you find it in the country, it's made of wood, has leaves on it and is growing in the ground then it's more likely that not you've got a tree on your hands. Further examination may confirm this initial impression but it's unlikely to be anything other than a tree.

A common characteristic of a fire is to burn and, in the process, produce heat, flames and smoke. However it's possible that a fire may not produce smoke but it's unlikely that the burning of combustible material will produce smoke but no fire.

How did you guess that I work in the tax office and answered this query at the insistence of my colleagues who claim I cannot produce a simple sentence that can be understood by that proportion of the general public who are not well versed in the comprehension of complex concepts.

I rest my case - and my head in my hands