All that glitters <is> not gold'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by EGGHEADED, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. EGGHEADED

    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!
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    All is "everything." Everything is singular, e.g. "All is well."
     
  3. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    "All" as a noun is singular and uncountable.
     
  4. Fun fact: This is a misquotation of 'All that glisters is not gold' (The Merchant of Venice - Shakespeare)
     
  5. RedwoodGrove

    RedwoodGrove Senior Member

    Northern California
    English, USA
    wow
     
  6. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    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.)
     
  7. kentix

    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
     
  8. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    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".
    the value of gold comes from, among other things, the fact that it does not tarnish, and all that is gold does glitter.
     
  9. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Apparently it describes Aragorn (I'm familiar with much of Tolkien's work but did not realize until I found this in wiki that
     
  10. kentix

    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.

    So, you see, that's not the meaning Tolkien was after, but just the opposite. Things can be very important without being showy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
  11. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Silly me. I managed to misunderstand that pretty efficiently. :oops:
     

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