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My book shows the following sentence:

One should keep his words both soft and tender tomorrow he may have to eat them.

What does eat mean? I guess it means he may have to regret about what he said. Am I right?

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    This sentence is also missing a semicolon. It should read "One should keep his words both soft and tender; tomorrow he may have to eat them."
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 26, 2013 at 16:02
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    @WendiKidd: Or a comma and a conjuction. I don't know who said this, but, apparently, it wasn't Andy Rooney.
    – J.R.
    Mar 27, 2013 at 12:11

1 Answer 1

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"Eat your words" means "admit that what you said was wrong." In that sentence, eat is used figuratively.

The sentence means that one should be careful on what he says because he could then admit he was wrong.

Then, as WendiKidd said, the sentence is missing something. At minimum, it is missing a punctuation mark.

One should keep his words both soft and tender; tomorrow he may have to eat them.

One should keep his words both soft and tender: Tomorrow he may have to eat them.

One should keep his words both soft and tender. Tomorrow he may have to eat them.

Without changing the punctuation, it would need a word more.

One should keep his words both soft and tender because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

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