Talk:a good man is hard to find

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Deletion debate[edit]

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Is there something proverbial about this that I don't understand? --Hekaheka 10:54, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

|+proverb&as_brr=3&sa=N&start=10 A few references seem to have it, but it's marginal. We don't have any criteria for including or excluding proverbs. They don't have to be more than the sum of their parts. They seem to have to be either a directive or an observation about the world that is often repeated. At COCA a search for "a good X is hard to find" shows 13 hits for X = "man" and one hit each for six other terms. It seems to be the kind of catchphrase that is often used as a title for stories, articles, books, and songs. That is evidence of popularity if nothing else. Under the current CM-less regime, anything goes. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 12:26, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I guess you don't mean that we are going to accept any self-evident statement that has been used at least 13 times ;-) --Hekaheka 12:43, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't know that we should keep this one, really. It appeared completely unformatted on the uncategorized list, probably because SB or other patroller wasn't sure it should be deleted. It seemed worth considering, if only to test the boundaries of what we want to include. Equinox, I believe, has put in a vote for including catchphrases. All we need are criteria to be explicit about inclusion. Also, there is a small field of proverb scholarship that might have something lexicographically useful to say. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 13:14, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Unsure, can't really think of a good reason to delete it, although I'm not satisfied that it's a proverb. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:42, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
What is marginally unusual about this phrase is the word order. Normally you would say "It's hard to find a good X", but as this seems to be a catchphrase, along with a good woman is hard to find possibly, then the word order is reversed to give an emphasising effect. Marginal keep if only to define boundaries. -- ALGRIF talk 11:14, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Probably delete as this isn't a proverb hence it's just sum of parts, but I'm still not all that sure. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:22, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm getting 380,000 Google results if that makes any difference. I'd say keep, but I'd like to see some citations. Tooironic 08:42, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

No consensus. Mglovesfun (talk) 08:25, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

RFD 2013[edit]

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a good man is hard to find

Previously passed but with lack of discussion. Looks doubtful to me--Shegashega (talk) 23:11, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Do you have any reasons to support its deletion? DCDuring TALK 00:18, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Sure, it doesn't look like a proverb to me.
Definition is wrong; it just means that a good man is hard to find. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:30, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
It is only a well-known phrase because of the Mae West quote:- "A hard man is good to find". SemperBlotto (talk) 10:46, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Delete, I dispute that this is a proverb, and even if it is proverbs don't get any exemptions in WT:CFI so it needs to be idiomatic, and it isn't. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:42, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete. I thought about this one for a while, since it may hinge on what is meant by a "good" man, but any relevant sense of "good" should be at good already, and the applicable sense will be determinable by the context of the phrase. bd2412 T 02:34, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete: nothing like idiomatic. BigDom (tc) 10:59, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
  • See w:A Good Man Is Hard to Find (short story) for the story. See also the book [1], the painting [2] and the song [3]. I have no opinion on this phrase either way, but it seems there is more to it than just the sum of parts. Also [4] shows that "a hard man is good to find" has applicability beyond quoting Mae West. BB12 (talk) 05:50, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep but redefine. According to a quick One Look search, the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs has this with the definition "Men who make good husbands or workers are rare," and the the The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy has it with definition "Dependable, trustworthy help is not easy to get." What makes this phrase idiomatic, I think, is that the rarity of "good men" is not something that can be taken as given. Approached from the perspective of a cynic, "a good man is hard to find" is a statement of the obvious, but to someone who views humanity as fundamentally/essentially good, it's highlighting something unexpected and counterintuitive. Something that's true, but shouldn't be. And, that, I think, is the underlying message: good men are far less common than they ought to be. -Cloudcuckoolander (talk) 07:06, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Whether good men are rare or not is subjective, not fact. It has no place in a dictionary. Also we shouldn't be giving such a narrow definition of good. A man who doesn't have a job but has a lot of money could still be considered a 'good man' by a woman. We can't force a definition on our readers. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:17, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
That whether "good men" are rare or not is a subjective judgment, not fact, is basically what I was trying to get across with "the rarity of 'good men' is not something that can be taken as given." This is why I think that the phrase could only be considered SOP if there were no question that "good men" are rare. I agree that what constitutes "good" is also a matter of subjectivity, but this is not the only proverb on this site to use that word in a narrow manner: good fences make good neighbors, no good deed goes unpunished, etc. Good fences make good neighbors, for example, is based on the assumption that "good neighbors" are ones who keep to themselves, although it's equally possible to view such neighbors as unsociable and unhelpful (and thus "bad"). However, I don't think the definition given in that proverb's entry is intended to impose a particular view of what makes a "good neighbor" onto readers, but rather to report what the proverb is actually used to mean. And if a proverb has more than one attestable meaning, I don't see why its entry can't include more than one definition. -Cloudcuckoolander (talk) 20:51, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
How is this any different from saying, "a good plumber is hard to find", or "a good laxative is hard to find"? The rarity of a "good" example is equally subjective, and the "plumber" example would even meet the CFI based on usage in durably archived discussion groups. bd2412 T 21:05, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Neither of those sentences get hits on One Look. "A good man is hard to find" does. If something is included in One Look-listed dictionaries, I think that's grounds to regard it as an established proverb. -Cloudcuckoolander (talk) 21:41, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
  • There may be evidence that good man may be an idiom, meaning something hard to find. There's lots of quotes out there for proverbial good man too, suggesting there is something worthwhile to this proverb. --Shegashega (talk) 13:48, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
Failed. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:03, 9 January 2014 (UTC)