You are watching: When you put two and two together
My guess is that it originally had a much longer develop, like, "She put 2 and 2 together to obtain four," but that the "to acquire four" component has actually fallen out of consumption.
A query by "put 2 and also 2 together" on the COHA (1810s-2000s) shows that the phrase showed up in sentences without a longer form given that 1848 at leastern (1848 is the year of the initially result). Tbelow are incidents of a much longer form "put two and also 2 together and also make four". It"s not clear whether the shorter form acquired from the longer develop, however I"d say that your hypothesis provides feeling.
The earliest offers I deserve to uncover are 1816 and also 1820 and also include the four.
Here"s Charles Taylor in 1816, in Facts and evidences on the subject of Baptism in 3 extra letters:
How slightly do some exceptionally excellent world check out their Bibles! — .The Scripture is plain enough, to appropriate attention. Any that have the right to put 2 and two together, to make four, might, and also indeed must understand also it.
Here"s William Cobbett in 1820, in Cobbett"s Weekly Political Register: Volume 36:
I am no lawyer, and if it were possible, still less of a conjuror, but, being able to put two and 2 together, and also to asspecific that they make four; being able to arrive at this conclusion, with mathematical certainty ...
And even more amazing, from the same volume:
My opinions have actually not regularly been contradicted by events ; and also my decided opinion is, that, once you and your colleagues have carefully put 2 and 2 together ; and then put a one to the four, and by the full have actually multiplied twenty, the outcome will display you that it would certainly a lot much better not to proceed with the trial any even more than through the Coronation.
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Both from exceptionally equivalent times.
It"s amazing to uncover some instances of putting two and also 2 together in a literal sense, such as this 1820 instance of exactly how to pot and collar eels in The exercise of cookery, pastry, confectionary, pickling, preserving, &c By Frazer (mrs.)
After taking off the skin, break-up them down from the shoulder to the tail, and also bone them ; season them highly with salt, seasonings, and sweet herbs ; then put 2 and also two together, through the shoulder of the one to the tail of the other;