Believe that and you'll believe anything. Various versions appear on the internet. Here's a plausible one (from everything2.com)I've always heard that it is the answer to the question posed by a visitor to Madame Toussaud's Wax Museum, who asked his guide, in front of an exhibit: "But which of them is the Duke of Wellington and which is his horse?".
The New York Times seems to agree (here)The truth is however is that the saying is British in origin and was first recorded in the January 1846 edition of Punch. That edition of the magazine featured a cartoon entitled 'The Ministerial Crisis' ....... It is generally believed that Punch was simply appropriating what was at the time a common "stallholder's cry to customers", which some accounts attribute to the Cockney dialect, although that is all intelligent supposition rather than plain fact.
Believe that and you'll believe anything.
Freud's treatise on Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious quotes a 19th century witticism.
A guide at an art gallery (in London, I think) routinely remarks to a group of visitors:
"And here, ladies and gentlemen, you see the Duke of Wellington with his horse, Copenhagen".
A wit chips in with the comment: "Which one's the Duke?"
Arthur Wellesley was noted for the unusual size and length of his nose - he was called Conky by his troops.
To which the guide responds: "Sir Madam? - you pay your money and you take your choice."
Not in Freud's quote with the demotic -s as usually since cited, it's true, but entirely suggestive of a wry, slightly bored, economically cynical view of the two
Sorry, I thought you were asking about an idiom. You can say "You pays your money and you takes your chance." as much as you like, but that isn't an idiom, so it's not only ungrammatical, but also lacks any real meaning.As far as I know, you can say it both ways.
It has various different senses depending on context, but the idea always is that there is a person entitled to make the choice in the given situation.
I've always understood it to mean 'it makes no difference (to me) whether you choose A or B.'.
< ---- > The idiom is "You pays your money and you takes your choice."
"You pays your money and you takes your chance." is gibberish. The whole point of the saying is in posts #7 and #12
Have you copied that correctly? The idiom started life as a British English Idiom. I can understand that Longman has published a bowdlerised version, but that doesn't make it an idiom, or give it a meaning.I'm quoting from Longman American Idioms Dictionary for the entry, You pay your money and you takes your chances/choice.
Have you copied that correctly? The idiom started life as a British English Idiom. I can understand that Longman has published a bowdlerised version, but that doesn't make it an idiom, or give it a meaning.
As to why this survives in its ungrammatical form: There's no explanation except that people likely enjoy the affected "folksy" tone, errors and all.
There are more than a few ungrammatical set phrases extant (e.g. "how do you like them apples," "them's the breaks," "), probably surviving in part because they are used in casual settings and thus the humor/color are of more value to the speaker than being grammatically correct in that context.
< ---- > I was asking if you had transcribed "You pay your money and you takes your chances/choice." correctly, since I would not have expected even Longman to have printed that.What do you mean with "bowdlerised"? I quote:"Used to say that is impossible to say which of two or more choices is the right one." < --- >
I was referring to the change of "choice" to "chance", but there was no indecency there, so I should not have used "bowdlerised".to remove passages or words regarded as indecent from (a play, novel, etc); expurgate
Singular and plural. It's a fairly common dialect variant, which I think is most often used as a historical present tense (So I says to him, "where's the money?" and 'e gives it me, so we both goes off to the pub). I associate it with London and Essex, but it may be more widespread.What is the "-s" here? Singular ending?
It is definitely more widespread. I'm not even sure I can identify a region here in the US where it is particularly common. My husband's closest friend, born and bred in Indiana, always uses this verb form ("I says," "he gives," etc.) when he's relating an anecdote.Singular and plural. It's a fairly common dialect variant, which I think is most often used as a historical present tense (So I says to him, "where's the money?" and 'e gives it me, so we both goes off to the pub). I associate it with London and Essex, but it may be more widespread.
Here's another site which agrees with that theory (source: http://www.phrases.org.uk/). I must say I had always taken it to be a Cockney expression, given the addition of an 's' to the second person singular.
That would be right. Punch cartoons routinely used Cockney characters and their speech. After all, the full title was "Punch, or The London Charivari".I must say I had always taken it to be a Cockney expression
I think we'll struggle to answer that.How did the "-s" get to be there in the first place?
Rather than edit that, I will add the Ngrams that show the chance(s) versions (combined) are far less common, much younger and non-existent in BrE - (and this was vigorously confirmed by Andygc).I think the original was "If you pays your money you have another think coming" meaning that the OP's idiom started out as one thing (the "original") and others have purloined it...
In some varieties, predominantly those in the south west of England, but also parts of northern England, -s is applied across the verbal paradigm, and is not restricted to third-person singular contexts, as in (1) ...
1. We eats there most Sundays
(Andy Kirkpatrick, The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, p 39)
(Cartoon featuring the vicar's wife talking to a rustic old man laid up by an injured foot.)
- Vicar's wife: Now that you can't get about and are not able to read, how do you manage to occupy the time?
Rustic man: Well, mum, sometimes I sits and thinks and then again I just sits.