All that glitters <is> not gold'

EGGHEADED

Member
Uzbek
There is a saying 'All that glitters is not gold'. I am really confused of why we must use a singular verb. You know, All refers to plural. Yet, do you think that we must use glitters and is. They are used after a singular subject.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    (And he got it, and the rhyme for the following line, from Chaucer:)

    Chaucer
    But al thyng which that shineth as the gold
    Nis nat gold, as that I have herd it told;

    Shakespeare
    All that glisters is not gold—
    Often have you heard that told.)
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    And then there's Tolkien and the other side of the coin:

    All that is gold does not glitter
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Odd that Tolkien should have written that, other than to make the poem rhyme. The meaning necessary to the poem is "all that glitters is not gold".
    All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    the value of gold comes from, among other things, the fact that it does not tarnish, and all that is gold does glitter.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's basically another way of saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover." and does refer most directly to Aragorn. He looks weather-beaten and unremarkable on the outside but on the inside he's a future king waiting to be crowned. He would turn out to be the most important man in Middle Earth in the last several thousand years.

    Not all those who wander are lost;

    This means the same thing. What something appears to be and what it really is are not always the same. Aragorn wandered for many years, but he was not lost.

    The meaning necessary to the poem is "all that glitters is not gold".
    So, you see, that's not the meaning Tolkien was after, but just the opposite. Things can be very important without being showy.
     
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