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little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a

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Also, a little learning is a dangerous thing. Knowing a little about something tempts one to overestimate one's abilities. For example, I know you've assembled furniture, but that doesn't mean you can build an entire wall system; remember, a little knowledge. This maxim, originally a line from Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism (1709), has been repeated with slight variations ever since. It is still heard, although less frequently, and sometimes shortened, as in the example.

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QUIZ YOURSELF ON "WAS" VS. "WERE"!

Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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