Are you bread and butter secure?

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jasmine1122

New Member
Chinese &english
Is the sentence 'Are you bread and butter secure?' grammatically correct?

When you say 'Are/is your bread and butter secure?', 'Are' or 'is' is preferred?

Look forward to your kind reply.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I don't think I've ever come across the question "Are you bread and butter secure?" Is it a phrase used in the world of investments?
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    I agree with Loob and Cagey that it doesn't appear to be something native speakers would say. I was answering the question: Is it "grammatically correct"?
    "If you are job secure, it is a perfect time to buy" (http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2008/s2506740.htm)
    "Provided you are job secure and have decent credit, buying a house now is probably a good move" (http://downrivermichiganhomes.com/tag/credit/)
    If we accept the above as grammatically correct sentences, then "bread-and-butter secure" is grammatically correct as well.
     

    ESustad

    Senior Member
    English - (Minnesota)
    If you are going to use it as an adjective, it should be hyphenated. "Bread-and-butter secure," as in secure in basic living necessities.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes, but grammatically correct doesn't necessarily mean it's understandable. :)

    "My enigma is investing large marshmallows above the sun." is grammatically correct. All the words are in correct order and each word makes sense. That doesn't mean that the sentence conveys any meaning to the average person.
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    "Secure" is an adjective, which can be modified by an adverb (e.g., financially secure) or a noun (e.g., job secure). "Bread and butter" in "bread-and-butter secure" is a noun like "pitch" in "pitch black" and "snow" in "snow white"--All of them are the "noun + adjective" constructions.
    Yes, but grammatically correct doesn't necessarily mean it's understandable.
    I agree. But in this case, I think it is quite understandable although I would not recommend it to learners of English :).
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes, it is definitely possible, but some noun-adjective pairs are common and others are not. "House poor" is a common expression; "stock rich" is not. Frankly, I haven't heard "job secure", either. Is it common?

    [edit] I only see 34 results in a Google search for "are job secure". I don't think it's common.
     
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    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    I think we all agree that it is not idiomatic in terms of collocation (e.g., "House poor" is a common expression; "stock rich" is not). The big question is: Is it grammatically correct? Now I also have another question (which could be off-topic if the OP was only interested in grammar): Is this innovative expression easily understandable?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I understand "bread and butter" in the sense of "plain vanilla", i.e. basic, without frills, as in "bread and butter secure emails". How do you understand it, Skatinginbc?

    The best example I could find is in this blog, Look Like You Mean It. Just scroll half-way down the page.
     
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    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    "Bread-and-butter secure" is not as clear to me because "bread-and-butter" has multiple meanings.
    That makes sense. We may therefore conclude that "Are you bread-and-butter secure" is not a good English sentence no matter it is grammatically correct or not.
    I understand "bread and butter" in the sense of "plain vanilla", i.e. basic, without frills...How do you understand it, Skatinginbc?
    The syntax of the OP's sentence calls for a "noun + adjective" interpretation, rather than an "adjective + adjective" interpretation, and therefore the adjective senses of "bread-and-butter" (e.g., "basic" as in bread-and-butter issues) are precluded.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    >>The syntax of the OP's sentence calls for a "noun + adjective" interpretation, rather than an "adjective + adjective" interpretation, and therefore the adjective senses of "bread-and-butter" (e.g., "basic" as in bread-and-butter issues) are precluded.

    I don't agree with this, since none of us know what the OP sentence was meant to mean; though in #9 you said "I think it is quite understandable." The few cases of "bread and butter secure" that I found online and that made some kind of sense were those referring to emails, and I would take "bed and butter" there to be acting as an adverb: "secure in a basic way" -not extremely secure or completely secure, but just bread and butter secure.

    Absent any kind of source or context, (which someone should have asked for before answering the OP's question), I would interpret the sentence as "Do you have basic security?"

    It would be nice if Jasmine were to tell us what the sentence should mean; otherwise we are just guessing.
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    The few cases of "bread and butter secure" that I found online and that made some kind of sense were those referring to emails
    "It lets BlackBerry focus on their bread-and-butter, secure corporate email." (http://clientadmin.lightreading.com/messages.asp?piddl_msgthreadid=238979&piddl_msgid=344701) ==> Note the existence of a comma between bread-and-butter and secure. There is no comma in OP's sentence.
    I would take "bread and butter" there to be acting as an adverb: "secure in a basic way"
    I can only think of the following structures right off the top of my head:
    1. black and white clear (clear as "black and white"); skin deep (deep as the skin), sky high (high as the sky), ice cold (cold as ice).
    Bread and butter secure = secure as "bread and butter"???? (Nay, it doesn't work).
    2. house poor (poor as a result of owning a house); sea sick (sick as a result of traveling on the sea).
    Bread and butter secure = secure as a result of having obtained "bread and butter" (i.e., source of livelihood).
    3. street smart = smart in terms of surviving on the streets; photo shy = shy in terms of taking photos; sugar and caffeine rich = rich in terms of sugar and caffeine.
    Bread and butter secure = secure in terms of "bread and butter" (i.e., source of livelihood).
    It will help me tremendously in understanding how "bread and butter secure" can be interpreted as "secure in a basic way" if there are analogous examples of NP + Adj in which NP acts as an adverb.
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I've never heard "black and white clear". "Crystal clear", yes; "black and white clear", no. It doesn't make sense to me. Black is usually opaque, and white isn't clear, either.

    "Bread and butter" can mean "the primary source of income", which is quite different from "source of livelihood". "We write all kinds of insurance, but life insurance is our bread and butter." The company sells a variety of insurance products but their primary source of income is life insurance. All their products are the source of their livelihood but life insurance provides the lion's share of income.

    So what does "we are bread and butter secure" mean for this company? It doesn't mean that their life insurance sales are secure. The market might be very shaky at the moment but it is still their primary source of income. How should I interpret a brochure from this company that has such a statement? I would be very puzzled. "Our bread and butter is secure" would make sense to me but that is clearly a reference to the stability of their main source of income.
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Is the sentence 'Are you bread and butter secure?' grammatically correct?

    When you say 'Are/is your bread and butter secure?', 'Are' or 'is' is preferred?

    Look forward to your kind reply.
    Looking at this more closely, I see something I didn't notice before. :eek:
    In view of the second question. I suspect that the first was intended to be "Are your bread and butter secure?"

    If that is correct the OP's question is whether this sentence takes is or are:
    'Are/is your bread and butter secure?'

    It's a question that has occurred to other people as well, and we have several threads on the topic:

    This one deals with the figurative use of 'bread and butter' that we have been discussing:
    Something's bread and butter is/are...

    (There are others that deal with the edible forms, which you can find by clicking ---> bread and butter.)

    I think we should wait until Jasmine returns to clarify her question.
     
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