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Good grammar don't feed the bulldog

Posted by ESC on January 17, 2001

In Reply to: Good grammar don't feed the bulldog posted by Bob on January 16, 2001

: : : : I use it to mean saying sorry isn't enough. What is the origin?

: : : In business, to "feed the bulldog" is to generate sufficient revenue to meet expenses. I don't know much about bulldogs, but I'm willing to bet they get aggressive and insistently unhappy when not fed on a regular schedule. Overhead costs tend to be like that, too. The rent must be paid. The payroll must be met. Productive actions, not mere words, will feed the bulldog

: : I wasn't sure what the "bulldog" is and I'm glad you cleared that up. I wanted to add that, in one of those eerie Phrase Finder coincidences, I saw a variation of the phrase right after reading Cord's post. An exchange between a district attorney and a reporter ("Guilty as Sin" by Tami Hoag): "'I meant it,' she said, fishing her keys out of her coat pocket. 'I don't have anything for you.' ''No comment' don't feed the bulldog.'"

: Ah. That raises another point. The phrase is almost always as you quoted it, with the less-grammatical, more colloquial "don't" versus the more conventional "doesn't." Why? I suppose the rough-hewn nature of the quote lends itself to the less polished, slangy version. Euphony. It's a little like "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing." Rendered into grammatical standard English, the phrase deflates and loses all its power. It swings no longer.

Isn't there a fancy name for using incorrect grammar on purpose, for a certain effect? As in the phrase "We was robbed." I'll have to remember where I read about that...could it be "Figures of Speech"?