1

I wonder what would be the right phrase to use, once you encounter someone else's statement, which you can't see what it has to do with the conversation.

For example:

Jake: I think he will win the next election!

Dan: Well, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Which of the following is considered to be valid and natural:

  1. What was that in relation to?
  2. How is it related to our topic?
  3. What it has to do with what I said?

Any other suggestions?

3

Any of those would be possible and appropriate. The last should be "What does that have to do with what I said?"

Asking "How are 'birds in the bush' and elections connected?" is not a figure of speech, but it is a natural piece of sentence building, and so is appropriate and understandable.

There is one figure of speech "What does that have to do with the price of fish?" or "What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?", which is an ironic and facetious question. In most situations you would be better using simple expressions like yours: "How is that related?"

  • 1
    I've looked up the link you have posted from Wikipedia and saw this remark: A related expression in Hebrew can be found in a commentary on the Biblical commandment... Rashi's commentary begins with the question "What is the connection between Shmita and Mount Sinai?" The question has since taken on a general meaning equivalent to that of the "price of tea in China" expression. Now I wonder if What is the connection between ... and ... is a common figure of speech, and if it's not, will it be obvious to the listener what I'm asking? – SunnySideDown Mar 24 at 0:23
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    @SunnySideDown That may have been a common figure of speech in Hebrew at the time of the writing of the Talmud I don't think it is in current English. – David Siegel Mar 24 at 0:48

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