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How it is Harry and not John or anyone else?



 
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Is this expression correct? ...We'll see "whose" right... | what makes the answer to be 'himself'?
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How it is Harry and not John or anyone else? #1 (permalink) Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:19 am   How it is Harry and not John or anyone else?
 

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #302 "English Slang Idioms (24)", question 10

"He thinks he's so special but any Tom, Dick, or ......... could do his job and better than he can!" Jane exclaimed.

(a) John
(b) Will
(c) Mark
(d) Harry

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #302 "English Slang Idioms (24)", answer 10

"He thinks he's so special but any Tom, Dick, or Harry could do his job and better than he can!" Jane exclaimed.

Correct answer: (d) Harry

Your answer was: incorrect
"He thinks he's so special but any Tom, Dick, or John could do his job and better than he can!" Jane exclaimed.
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how it is harry and not john or anyone else?

Milena
Milena
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How it is Harry and not John or anyone else? #2 (permalink) Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:55 am   How it is Harry and not John or anyone else?
 

There is no real explanation for this answer I'm afraid.
It's just an expression.

The expression is "any tom, dick or harry could..."
this is because these are regular, normal English names so reinforce the fact that it could be anyone.
However even though there are 3 names, it is usually used when talking about one person.

Basically, to use the phrase "any tom, dick or harry" means ANYONE

the phrase "every tom, dick or harry" means EVERYONE
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How it is Harry and not John or anyone else? #3 (permalink) Thu Jul 03, 2008 21:28 pm   How it is Harry and not John or anyone else?
 

Hi Milena,

The problem is that the phrase "Tom, Dick, and Harry" is actually an idiom, so that's why you can't change the names. Yes, any common male name would still make sense, but it's the fact that you're dealing with an idiom that you can't change the names.

The meaning of the idiom "Tom, Dick, and Harry" is of course just as Benjamin explained it.
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