The title is one phrase that would at times trouble even Native English speakers. Think about these two statements: 1) you have a piece of cake but 2) you aren’t allowed to eat it. Why is that?


There is a very simple explanation why people don’t understand its meaning. It’s hard to understand the phrase because people usually say it wrong. The original saying is, “You can’t eat your cake and have it too.” Take a minute and try to figure it out.


If you think it means “you can’t have something both ways”, then you are right. It is impossible to still have the cake with you after you eat because it’s in your stomach.

What are some examples of this? In what situations would you say it? Well, if I said something like, “I want to save money to go on vacation, but I want to have my Starbucks drinks every morning.” Not possible! Or how about, “I want to have a dog for a pet, but I don’t want to walk the dog everyday.” And from my experience, “I want to eat as much cake as I want and also become healthy.”

“You can’t have it both ways” and “You can’t eat your cake and have it too” are interchangeable.

What are your experiences of wanting something both ways that are impossible? Share your story with us in the comments section below.



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