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Have the last word

[ 2011-02-16 17:19]     字号 [] [] []  
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Have the last word

Reader's question:  

However, as Louis Pasteur once purportedly said, the microbes always have the last word.

Could you explain "have the last word"?

My comments:

In a debate, the one who has the last word wins it – because the opponent had nothing worthy to reply or retort.

In other words, the last or final word closes the argument.

In the example from the top, it means that microbes always win out. Microbes are tiny organisms too small for the human eye to observe but they number billions of trillions on earth. They're everywhere, in the air, on land and deep down in the bottom of oceans. Singly, they might not be strong or powerful enough to survive a particular fight with bigger organisms but collectively they're too vast in number to beat.

Hence Louis Pasteur, the French chemist from whom derives the word pasteurization, is credited for saying microbes shall always prevail - against any bigger and seemingly stronger organisms and larger species.

In the long run, the earth will be ruled by microbes – as they always have even though some humans may flatter themselves by believing otherwise.

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Go to Zhang Xin's column


About the author:

Zhang Xin(张欣) has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.