Talk:add fuel to fire

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add fuel to fire[edit]

Isn't this always "add fuel to the fire"? I've never seen the form without "the". — Paul G 14:05, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

That's what I would have thought, too. But b.g.c. shows almost as many hits for the RfV'd form as for my preferred form. DCDuring TALK 14:25, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Not to add fuel to the fire, but when I discount the correct form (with the) from those search results, I do not see "almost as many." What searches are you doing on b.g.c.? --Connel MacKenzie 16:37, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
What is the source for the correctness of the "the" form? I hadn't noticed that there was any overlap in the raw counts. I only used the lemma form. The bolded text never included any of the other forms, either way: with the and without the. What did you use? DCDuring TALK 16:59, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I added one of those quotations to the article. I can't figure out from b.g.c. whether the phrase has also been used by Burns, or only in dictionaries (ie in a definition, not a headword) that define words Burns used. If it has been used by Burns, I think that could qualify it on the grounds that Burns is well-known (even if he is Scottish ;) — Beobach972 04:24, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
It is not in his actual writing, but in the glossary which has been included in various editions of the Poems and Songs going to back to (at least) 1804, as the definition of "beet". -- Visviva 06:50, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
It seems that our use of the definite article in constructions like this has changed a bit over the past centuries. In 18th-century English, I think "add fuel to the fire" would mean adding fuel to some very specific fire (which is actually the meaning you would expect from the). So it wouldn't be used in references to the general act, as in definitions or in constructions like the one quoted ("not to add fuel to fire, but ..."). Gradually we have come to tolerate (or even expect) the definite article even in indefinite constructions, so a modern glossarist would probably define "beet" as "add fuel to the/a fire." -- Visviva 06:50, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't know about more or less common, but this form is certainly easily attested, and generally from older (19th century) works. - TheDaveRoss 18:58, 31 May 2009 (UTC)


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add fuel to fire[edit]

rfd-sense: the existing gloss. This is a much-less-used form of add fuel to the fire, for which it should be one of numerous variations. It is not a variation found in COCA. DCDuring TALK 13:51, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Delete, rfd-redundant sense. To be honest, I'd have just done it. --Mglovesfun (talk) 11:31, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I can imagine a probably insignificant distinction between them, but even that doesn't seem to play out in quotations. DAVilla 17:11, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

deleted -- Liliana 17:45, 8 October 2011 (UTC)