In my book there is the text:

I took one of the big trash bags from under the kitchen sink and trudged upstairs. Patches lay on my bed, her tail twitching, eyes blinking, lost in some daydream. What does a cat do on its day off? Can't lie around. That's its job.

I can understand question "What does a cat do on its day off?", but I thought the answer should be "lie around" or something else affirmative. Can you explain to me why in my book there is negative answer to that question?

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    I think the idea is that 'lying around' is what cats normally do, jokingly described as their 'job' - so a cat can't just relax on its 'day off', it ought to do something different. Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


First, in case it wasn't apparent, "can't lie around" is a contraction of "It can't lie around". Leaving off the initial "it" here gives more of a feeling of a quick, casual thought, rather than something that the speaker is really thinking about carefully.

As for the meaning, the speaker is saying "What does a cat do on its day off? It can't lie around on its day off, because lying around is a cat's job (and a job is what you do on your work days, not your day off), so it must do something different than lying around when it has a day off (but I don't know what that would be)."

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