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On the wall of a fast-food restaurant is a sign that reads:

"Give up, give in or give everything" KFC-documentary (see 31:20-31:24)

I know the meaning of "give up", "give in" and "give", but it does not make sense to me when I combine the 3 commands. It seems to mean something like "STOP (doing something)", "yield(or agree)" or "give away".

I thought maybe it is not for customers but it is only for the staff, but it does not make sense for them either. Why should they stop, yield, and give everything?

What does it mean?

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    It's a "motivational" imperative, where the first two options are "defeatist". So the implication is don't do either of the first two options - to achieve success you must put everything you've got into everything you do (be fully committed, and make every effort possible). But it's just a "wordplay slogan" - don't spend too long thinking about either the intended audience, the message itself, or the syntax. Oct 15, 2023 at 12:23
  • it simply means "work hard". that's it
    – Fattie
    Oct 16, 2023 at 17:29
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    'Give up, give in or give everything' has no clear or useful meaning; certainly nothing to do with learning English. The real problem is that 'Give up' and 'Give in…' mean nothing different; one of them is clearly irrelevant. Is 'Give up or give everything' clear? Is 'Give in or give everything' clear? Oct 16, 2023 at 22:58
  • @RobbieGoodwin, yes 'Give in or give everything' is more clear and makes more sense to us learners, because it seems to use the structure "Either do this or do that.", which is very clear.
    – Yunus
    Oct 17, 2023 at 6:55
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    @Robbie ‘Give up’ and ‘give in’ do not mean the same thing. Giving up is abandoning what you’re doing for whatever reason; giving in is yielding to pressure and letting it break you. They’re close, but not equivalent. And there is a perfectly clear, unambiguous and useful meaning to “give up, give in or give everything”, as evidenced by the fact that someone who has never seen the quote before (such as myself) immediately understands what it refers to, even out of context, and that it is a motivational quote. Oct 17, 2023 at 9:54

1 Answer 1

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This is a variation of another quote: "In life you have three choices - give up, give in, or give it your all".

Your poster has the same implication, that you have three choices:

Either

or

  • give everything: spend all your energy working towards your goals ('Everything' is used abstractly- it doesn't refer to your possessions, but rather your efforts and skills.)

In other words, you can give up and give in- or you can give everything and expend all your efforts trying to achieve success. The idea is that you feel motivated.

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    Unlike the other two, "give everything" is not an idiomatic phrase, for what it's worth. The closest idiomatic phrase is "give it everything you've got" or "give it your all".
    – NotThatGuy
    Oct 17, 2023 at 12:41

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