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Fish or cut bait

[ 2011-05-06 13:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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Fish or cut bait

Reader's question:  

You might tell someone to fish or cut bait if he repeatedly attempts to do something he is unable to do.

Could you explain "fish or cut bait"?

My comments:

In other words, do it or stop it altogether.

To fish one uses bait, the food one puts on the hook in order to attract fish.

When a fish takes the bait, you pull up the hook and you may catch the fish. Or you may not catch it, as the case may be.

And when you're done for the day, you cut the bait that's not eaten by any fish before packing for home.

Anyways, in the above example, you're advised to tell people who can't successfully finish a task to stop instead of keeping giving the impression that he's working.

Fish, or cut bait and go home. In other words, don't pretend to be doing something when all you do is waste everybody's time.

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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.