Where two are fighting, the third wins

Discussion in 'English Only' started by a_menudo, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. a_menudo

    a_menudo Banned

    Poland
    Polish
    This saying is used for situation in which where two people are fighting over something, a third party takes advantage of it and takes it all.
    Does it sound idiomatic to English ears? Would it roll off your tongue in the following context?

    Mary found a sweet and was ready to eat it when Danny got to her and tried to snatch it out of her hands. The sweet dropped on the floor and while Mary and Danny were quarrelling, Johnny quickly retrieved it and popped it in his mouth. Well, as they say, where two are fighting, the third wins.

    Are there any other expressions that convey the same idea?
     
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I've never heard such a saying, a_menudo. Where did you come across it?
     
  3. a_menudo

    a_menudo Banned

    Poland
    Polish
  4. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I don't know of any English version of this saying.
     
  5. a_menudo

    a_menudo Banned

    Poland
    Polish
    I see. What if you wanted to comment on the situation I described above with some short, proverb-like phrase, what would you say?
     
  6. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Your sentence is the English translation of a Hindi saying also.
     
  7. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    Well, since we don't possess a saying/proverb for this scenario, it would have to be either:
    (1) A translation of a non-English saying/proverb. Most native speakers of English wouldn't recognise it as a translation and would assume it was creative use of language. I like the Dutch proverb that translates as "When two dogs fight over a bone, a third one makes off with it"; or
    (2) Something that was merely descriptive and didn't sound like a saying/proverb. This would not possess the brevity that you are looking for.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  8. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with sound shift.

    If you're asking what I'd probably say to Danny & Mary, the answer's "It serves you right!"
     

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