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  • Category: Improve Your English

    Why don't we say: burning the 'midnight electricity'?

    In earlier days there was no electricity. So, the people who used to work at late night or the students who studied at night were stated to be 'burning the midnight oil'.

    However, now electricity has reached every nook and corner of India. People/Students of remotest areas of the country nowadays study in electric light. So, I think the old usage/idiom 'burning the midnight oil' is now urgently required to be changed/modified. Can't we now say: 'burning the midnight electricity' instead of the old idiom?

    I feel that this change is necessary to make the language evolve with time. Members may kindly give their opinion on this issue.
  • #605500
    After reading this post I split into laughter. The very old proverb stands good even today. Burning the mid night oil is told to stress the need that one is working hard even in the dark with the mere usage of oil lamps in those days. That proverb applies even today. Though we are not using the oil directly, the purpose of being woken up and either preparing for exams or doing office work late in the night by using extensive electricity, we are referring to the same old proverb which implies that work is being done no matter what is wasted, either oil or the electricity and in future may be solar energy !
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #605506
    Good proposal. But I have a different opinion.
    Earlier days the oil lamps are used only for lighting purpose. So we are burning oil only for studying in the midnight. Otherwise there is no necessity of burning the oil.
    But Electricity is being used for multiple purposes. Even to have a good sleep you have to burn the electricity. Your AC, your FAN, Your cell phone and many other things require electricity. So everybody for one reason or other will be burning the midnight electricity.
    Electricity is used more in midnight rather than other times.
    So I think it may not be apt to replace oil with electricity.
    The other meaning of the proverb is well discussed by K.Mohan. So I feel old proverb stands correct even today also. No change is required

    always confident

  • #605521
    I think the author of the thread has written it on a hilarious note and there is not a need to take the writing literary.
    There are many old sayings and phrases which convey great meanings and these are equally applicable today in their original form.

    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

  • #605527
    In the case of the oi lamp , it was the oil that was burnt. But in the case of electric lamps, the electricity does not get burnt literally and scientifically. It only enables the bulb to burn, rather if it was filament bulb the filament got burnt. In the modern type o bulbs like there is no actual burning. So we have to think of using some other phrase to replace the old phrase uage to make it relevant to modern times if we so need.

    Proverbs and sayings of wisdom have to be maintained and used as such only. Then only we will try to learn the essence and intention behind them.

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