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My colleague just asked me to review an email he had drafted. In it he used the expression, "of course you must do X before you do Y, otherwise you would be putting the chicken before the egg". To my mind he meant "the cart before the horse" because the whole POINT of the chicken and egg thing is that we don't know which came first.....However I haven't mentioned it because I know that the recipient will get the point and I was asked to review technical content - he is far too experienced to need someone checking his grammar. As a pedant, have I let myself down by letting this slide?
Yes, you have!
I think your colleague is a natural history pedant, and as such would know that as birds evolved from reptiles, putting the chicken before he egg is even more preposterous (so to speak) than putting the new-fangled cart before the horse.
Perhaps "otherwise you may be trying to run before you can walk" could be a useful alternative metaphor?
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