" I am as good as you are, as bad as I am."

Discussion in 'English Only' started by daniel_, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. daniel_ New Member

    Chinese Madarin
    I heard about this classic scottish toast:

    "
    Here to you, as good as you are,
    And here is to me, as bad as I am;
    As bad as I am, as good as you are,
    I am good as you are as bad as I am"

    which looks simple ,but as a non-native,I'm having difficulty to figure out what it really means .
    Can someone explain??thanks
     
  2. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Hello Daniel, and welcome to the forum.

    You've chosen quite a tricky point to ask about, and you can be sure that a lot of native speakers would have difficulty with this.

    It's usual when you drink to someone to praise them, and many people in praising others choose to denigrate themselves, to present themselves as being worse than they are. I'll try to explain each line:

    Here's to you, as good as you are, - I drink to you, for you are a good person.
    And here is to me, as bad as I am; - I drink to myself, although I am a bad person.
    As bad as I am, as good as you are, - Although I'm bad and you are good
    I am good as you are as bad as I am - I'm, although bad, as good as you.

    I think the Scottish like having little verbal and moral surprises up their sleeves.
     
  3. daniel_ New Member

    Chinese Madarin
    To me that makes sense
    ,thanks!
     
  4. daniel_ New Member

    Chinese Madarin
    But Thomas,for the last sentence...
    I am good as 'you are as bad as I am'

    how does it come to a conclusion like this??
     
  5. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Turn it round:

    As bad as I am, I am as good as you are.

    We'd be more likely to say:

    Bad as I am, I am as good as you are.

    The joke, such as it is, is having those as as's in the middle of the sentence, so people get lost thinking it means:

    I am as good as you are and then they can't make anything of the final as bad as I am.

    The Scottish are also a proud people and don't readily admit inferiority to anyone.
     

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