martes, 3 de noviembre de 2015

"The exception proves the rule"

This is our proverb of the week. It means that something that does not follow a rule shows that the rule exists.

This proverb is often used to justify some rule you have proposedbut which someone else has listed exceptions. 

This are exapmples of use found on the net: Meg: Men are alwaysrude. Caroline: But Fred's always polite. And John and Tony are polite, too. Meg: They're just the exceptions that prove the rule. 

Mike: All the shows on TV are aimed at people with low intelligence. Paul: What about that news program you like to watch? Mike: The exception proves the rule.

Anyway, there is a contradiction in this proverb because an exception does not confirm a rule, rather, it proves that the rule is not valid. 

The sentence comes from a Latin statement, Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis, that is to say, when we say that it is prohibited to park here on Sundays, it proves that there is a rule, which is that you can park there on the rest of the days of the week. In this example, the prohibition to park there on Sunday is a exception that proves  the existence of the following rule: you can park there.

It is in these contexts where we can use the proverb if we want it to sound meaningful.

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