everything in moderation

JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
Here's two quotes including the expression 'everything in moderation':
“As someone recovering from a food disorder, it’s something that I want to put out there that you don’t have to diet in order to be happy,” Lovato added. “I don’t think I’ve heard that message out there in the public and of course, it’s important to be healthy and everything in moderation is fine.”

Source: Demi Lovato Pinches Her ‘Extra Fat’ and Proudly Shows Off Her Cellulite: ‘I Still Love Myself’
Two nights a week, Christina enjoys a glass of wine and/or a Justin’s organic mini peanut butter cup. “It’s all about everything in moderation,” she said. “If I want a glass of wine, I’m going to have it, or some chocolate — sure, why not? For me, my nutrition routine is a way of life, and I have so much energy when I exercise and eat a healthy balanced diet.”

Source: ‘Flip or Flop’s’ Christina El Moussa Is Obsessed With This 1 Food (Plus, What She Eats Every Day)
Is 'everything in moderation' in these quotes a noun phrase (NP) with 'everything' being its head or a verbless clause with 'in moderation' being its head?

I, for one, think that it can be analyzed as a verbless clause in both these instances, and that perhaps in the first quote only can it alternatively be analyzed as an NP.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I personally would analyse it as a noun phrase in both cases.

    In the first example the noun phrase is the clause's subject.

    In the second example it forms part of the subject complement of the linking verb 'is'. It is a noun phrase within another phrase.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I personally would analyse it as a noun phrase in both cases.

    In the first example the noun phrase is the clause's subject.

    In the second example it forms part of the subject complement of the linking verb 'is'. It is a noun phrase within another phrase.
    In the second example, though, can you rewrite it as follows?
    It’s all about everything that is in moderation.

    I don't think so, because it's not about "everything", it's about the proposition that everything should be eaten, consumed, etc. in moderation.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I cannot rewrite it that way, but I am not even trying :) And I do not see how that changes its nature as a noun phrase...
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I do not see how that changes its nature as a noun phrase...
    If it's an NP, then it should be headed by a noun (everything), right?
    Do you really believe that everything is the head of everything in moderation in the second example?
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    Is 'everything in moderation' in these quotes a noun phrase (NP) with 'everything' being its head or a verbless clause with 'in moderation' being its head?
    At first sight it looks like a verbless clause such as "hands on hips", but CGEL, I think, analyses it as a NP consisting of the compound determinative "everything" (functioning as fused determiner-head) modified by the PP "in moderation".
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In the second example, though, can you rewrite it as follows?
    It’s all about everything that is in moderation.
    It doesn't need rewriting but I don't like the way you rewrote it.
    It's all about everything (should be taken) in moderation works the same as it's all about money.
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    In the second example, though, can you rewrite it as follows?
    It’s all about everything that is in moderation.
    I don't think so, because it's not about "everything", it's about the proposition that everything should be eaten, consumed, etc. in moderation.
    That's a good point. Yes, we can gloss "everything in moderation" here as "everything being in moderation", but not as "everything which is in moderation". That would make the phrase a verbless clause headed by the predicative PP "in moderation".
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    That's a good point. Yes, we can gloss "everything in moderation" here as "everything being in moderation", but not as "everything which is in moderation". That would make the phrase a verbless clause headed by the predicative PP "in moderation".
    So you agree that everything in moderation in the second example is a verbless clause.
    How about the one in the first example?
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    That would make the phrase a verbless clause headed by the predicative PP "in moderation".
    Everything being in moderation is, indeed, an absolute clause that functions as a noun and an object to 'about', I believe.
    I agree, but...
    Omitting the verb (in this case the present participle 'being') does change the grammar structure of the... thing, even if we can infer the omitted part. Thus, it may be seen as a clause reduced to a noun phrase by virtue of such an omission. In the final analysis, I prefer to stick to the 'safer' noun phrase. :)
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    So you agree that everything in moderation in the second example is a verbless clause.
    How about the one in the first example?
    I think the first could be analysed either way. What, exactly, is fine? Is it everything that is performed in moderation? Or is it the fact that everything is performed in moderation. The first makes it a NP, the second a verbless clause.

    In the second example, I prefer the analysis as a verbless clause. But it is tempting to analyse the entire phrase as an idiomatic NP, because there are very few PPs that could be meaningfully substituted for "in moderation".
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Actually, I am much happier with "all things in moderation". I think it conveys a slightly different meaning.

    (Moderation is good, until they decide that moderation is bad.)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Could you tell me what's the difference?
    A good question. I will try to explain.

    "Everything" means "all".

    "All things" means refers to the entities that make up that "all".

    You can't do "all" in excess, or in moderation. "All" is an absolute.

    Having said all of this, almost everyone says, "everything in moderation".

    I should note that a psychiatrist I know says, "Drink very infrequently, but never in moderation". His point is that maintaining self-restraint at all times is not mentally healthy. (He may be alone in this thinking, however.)
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    I always took "Everything in moderation" to include moderation itself, meaning that moderation should itself be exercised in moderation, i.e. that some things should be done to excess. So I drink to your shrink. :eek:
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I always took "Everything in moderation" to include moderation itself, meaning that moderation should itself be exercised in moderation, i.e. that some things should be done to excess. So I drink to your shrink. :eek:
    And I'll drink to that too.:)
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Greetings all round

    This ('everything in moderation') goes originally back to a maxim of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, mēden ágan, meaning 'nothing in excess/too much'. [Moderator: I know we are not supposed to use foreign languages in the 'English' Forum, but for clarity it seems unavoidable here]. For epigrammatic force and punch, Greek and Latin authors will commonly omit parts of the verb 'to be', as Aristotle did here.

    May I join in the drink with the shrink, please?

    Σ
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    This ('everything in moderation') goes originally back to a maxim of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, mēden ágan, meaning 'nothing in excess/too much'. [Moderator: I know we are not supposed to use foreign languages here, but for clarity it seems unavoidable here]. For epigrammatic force and punch, Greek and Latin authors will commonly omit parts of the verb 'to be', as Aristotle did here.
    I thought the expression (Everything in moderation, including moderation.) was from Oscar Wilde, but turns out Oscar Wilde himself might have simply relaying it from Aristotle. And it's good to know that 'to be' is originally omitted from the quote.

    One thing about the missing 'to be' is that I don't think it's merely 'to be' without any modal meaning as in "Nothing is in excess/too much", but I think some modal meaning should have been present (and omitted) in the original maxim as in "Nothing should be in excess/too much". But I don't know if things like "should be" were commonly omitted by Greek/Latin authors as well.
     
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