Talk:be born yesterday

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born yesterday[edit]

Fix definition. "Born yesterday" does not mean "naive", as then "I wasn't born yesterday" would mean "I wasn't naive", whereas it means in fact something like "I'm not naive". Probably the fix is: The entry should be "be born yesterday", should indicate that it's used only in the negative and past-tense (or just have the entry be "was not born yesterday"), and have it defined the way it is now.—msh210 20:55, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't think it's restricted to the negative, since subjunctive uses are possible:
  • 2005: Howard Zinn, Donaldo Pereira Macedo, Howard Zinn on Democratic Education‎, page 69
    If you don't know important things about history, then it's as if you were born yesterday. are comparisons in the present tense:
  • 1998: Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Icy Sparks‎, page 155
    "Compared to me, you were born yesterday."
--EncycloPetey 21:01, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps then this is not a definition of "born yesterday" but merely an entailment (is that the word I mean?)? Meaning, that "born yesterday" means, well, born yesterday, being one day old, and the fact that it refers to naïveté is not part of the dictionary definition at all.—msh210 21:09, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
And if that is the case, then it's SoP, but perhaps we should keep it anyway, with the definition literal and the other stuff in a usage note.—msh210 21:09, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
AHD and collins have this, but not other OneLook dictionaries. It might slow a non-native speaker/reader down, I suppose. The problem is not a missing "be", it is that there is a necessary shift in tense for a definition employing the most obvious and helpful defining words. "To have been born yesterday" is equivalent to "to be naive". This seems like a case where the usage example helps the user a lot and a grammatically precise analysis helps only those of us who like grammatical precision. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 00:05, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Since the associated verb is a form of be, which is notoriously irregular, it might be best to leave this entry at the current location despite the fact that it seems to be mostly (always?) associated with that verb. A usage notes section could explain the usually associated verb and frequent negative usage. --EncycloPetey 00:10, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Good now?​—msh210 (talk) 20:13, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

I would like to include EP's citations of non-negative use. I think they would fit under "Usage notes" after the current text. A leading phrase would be needed, e.g. "Examples of non-negative usage:". --Hekaheka 04:55, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Good now?​—msh210 (talk) 15:58, 15 December 2010 (UTC)