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Hi

I came across this sentence in a website which contains exercises on faulty parallelism.

I have a question on the need for comma here. I think comma should not be used here.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Please give your views.

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The quote is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. It appears in 1886 worded and punctuated as follows:

You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time.

There are so many variants of words and punctuation that almost any combination that is fairly reasonable should be acceptable.

There are clearly three major parts to the saying, so two commas are quite reasonable, as are the comma and semicolon seen above.

There's more on the saying at the link below.

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/12/11/cannot-fool/

CJ

Comments  

I would say - purely personally - that this one is debatable. I won't give an authoritative answer as the rules behind its use are beyond my knowledge, but from a native-speaker's perspective, it's one I'd probably use myself but wouldn't be unhappy to see left out.

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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.

Thank you, David Hatton.

Let me explain why I think it does not seem right to me.

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time..."

Here, the portion in red requires a verb, which is "fool" used in the beginning of the sentence. So, by using the commas, aren't we cutting it off fand make it stand without the verb?

Please give your views.

CalifJimYou can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time.

You have given the original form of the quote, which is from faulty parallelism . The one I posted did not have the have the subject and verb for the second part.

Thank you very much, CJ.

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vsureshwhich is from faulty parallelism.

I don't understand this part. Do you mean "original form of the quote, which contains faulty parallelism"?

vsureshThe one I posted did not have the have the subject and verb for the second part.

OK. I see what you mean. The comma should be omitted.

When the quote is part of your cultural history, it's easy to miss a point like that. The original pops into your mind as soon as you read the first few words. Emotion: smile

CJ

CalifJim
vsureshwhich is from faulty parallelism.

I don't understand this part. Do you mean "original form of the quote, which contains faulty parallelism

Actually, I have made a mistake: I have missed adding "free" before "from".

Thank you for your comments, CJ.

vsureshmissed adding "free" before "from".

Ah! "free from faulty ...". Now I get it.

It's almost an exercise in alliteration, isn't it? Emotion: smile

CJ

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CalifJim
vsureshmissed adding "free" before "from".

Ah! "free from faulty ...". Now I get it.

It's almost an exercise in alliteration, isn't it?

CJ

Yes. Thank you, CJ.