Wednesday, April 10, 2013

He Who Waits

I waited long enough for this! My Neanderthal mystery, DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE, will be published by Untreed Reads this year! They will also publish my brand new short story, “A Fine Kettle of Fish”. To see a little more about this series, The People of the Wind series, see my webpage.

You know the phrase, “All Good Things Come to He Who Waits”, don’t you? Have you ever given it much thought? I don’t mean whether it’s true or not (although I like to think it is), but the wording.

Is it correct? Of course lots of neat sayings aren’t. But should this be him who gets the good things? Not he? This gal says it’s definitely him. She gives her reasons here. She’s talking about strict grammar, but she uses the word whomever, which--to me--makes her reasoning a tad suspect.

This site says it was French first, in a poem by Violet Fane, and translates the questionable word as those. Good grief!

Another source quotes the same French poet and translates the saying very loosely, using she, they, and he. You might notice that, in this case the things aren’t necessarily good. It’s just “All things come
to those who wait.”

Just to be thorough in my research, I’ll mention that a game, Assassin’s Creed, uses the phrase as “All things come to he who waits.” Another vote for he.

I do wonder why he sounds better to our ears. I think it’s because we’ve heard it that way so many times. It also may be that the saying, whose origin is lost in antiquity, was formed before grammar rules were formed.

Here are some parting shots from the world of music. Good grammar would ruin these songs.
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Rolling Stones
I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyes Peas (an editor would hyphenate the group’s name, I’m sure)
Lay Down Sally, Eric Clapton
Conversate, Case (OK, that’s bad!)

All photos from


LD Masterson said...

I Wanna Hold Your Hand?

Kaye George said...

Yes! How could I leave out the Beatles?