A quote from a book I'm reading:

Parents have something in common with snowflakes. Both melt when the heat is on. No, wait, there's another similarity: No two are alike (or so some people say).

I really don't get the meaning/purpose of adding "or so some people say". Does "so" here refer to "two parents are alike" so it means "some people say some parents are alike"? If yes, what is the purpose of adding this remark? If the article was a thesis then it would be more understandable because in an essay you have to be very careful and accurate with your statements or assertions. But the article is not a thesis and this remark kind of weakens the idea the sentence is trying to present: Every parent is different. So why add this? Is it for humor? I don't see it.

  • 2
    First be aware that there is a saying that "No two snowflakes are exactly alike". So they're saying that no two parents are alike, similar to snowflakes. But there are people who will argue with anything, and likely some scientists would declare that, in all the snowflakes in Antarctica, the odds are high that there are two that are identical. But the real point is that people will argue with anything (even this comment).
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 22, 2021 at 22:09
  • So refers to "No two are alike," not to "two parents are alike." "So some people say" is either playful, or hinting that my evil stepmother seems to a perfect match for Cinderella's. Apr 22, 2021 at 22:11
  • 4
    The author is asserting that like snowflakes, no two parents are alike. The additional comment throws a bit of doubt on this, getting the reader ready for, I’d guess, some classification of parents into different types or styles.
    – Xanne
    Apr 23, 2021 at 0:24
  • Could do with a little more of the quotation to be able to answer the question of why the author said it and whether it's a joke.
    – A. B.
    May 12, 2021 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


It’s a joke. Without context, the author seems to be playing on our expectations. There’s a well-known saying, “No two snowflakes are alike,” and that’s what we’d expect the analogy between parents and snowflakes to be. But, no, it’s actually something unflattering. Then the book pretends to correct itself, as if the author were in a conversation and had just remembered the original point. It then gives the expected analogy.

But then it throws in a parenthetical “(or so some people say),” which tells us that the author does not really believe it. So it’s suddenly reversing our expectations again.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .