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He is very meticulous about paying his debts. Options
onsen
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 2:38:55 AM
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Hello,

Quote:
meticulous adj. attentive to detail;
He is very meticulous about paying his debts.

from Harrap’s Standard Learners’ English Dictionary.


Q1
What does the sentence mean?
Does it mean the following?
He pays his debts so as not to fall behind with his debts by paying enough attention to it.

But in this case, what sort of 'detail' has something to do with 'not to fall behind with'?

Q2
Does the sentence refer to one instance of his paying his debts or his habitual behaviour?

Thank you
ChrisKC
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 4:30:33 AM

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I think "meticulous" is not quite the right word. Meticulous is more about fine detail than his feeling of obligation to pay his debts. The word may be vigilant, as in taking care he pays his debts on time.

Having said that, it depends on the definition of "debt" in the way we mean it in daily life. A bill or invoice is often not considered a debt if it is paid on or before it is due. A property mortgage or Hire Purchase agreement is a debt over periods from a few weeks to 30 years but Creditors are happy with the agreed regular payments being made on time.

"In debt" though, tends to mean having debts but being unable to settle them, whether wanting to or not! In accountancy terms one is in 'deficit' if liabilities are greater than assets. These may involve debts or could be personal losses of your own money.



onsen
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:35:23 AM
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ChrisKC wrote:
I think "meticulous" is not quite the right word. Meticulous is more about fine detail than his feeling of obligation to pay his debts. The word may be vigilant, as in taking care he pays his debts on time.


Thank you very much, ChrisKC, for your reply.

Longman Exams Dictionary gives a definition which seems to support the original sentence.

Quote:
meticulous adj
very careful about small details, and always making sure that everything is done correctly:
He kept meticulous accounts. Their planning and preparation were meticulous.
… omitted …





thar
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:29:13 AM

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I agree with the original - it is fine.

He is careful, precise, and makes sure it is done correctly.

What that means will depend on what you are doing.

He is always meticulous about how he irons his clothes - he does it carefully, precisely and they end up perfectly ironed.
There is no duty involved, just how he likes to do things.

He is always meticulous about paying his debts - he pays the right amount, on time, and makes sure they are paid. Paying your debts is the 'correct' thing to do, so you could say this involves duty, but that is only because of the thing he is meticulous about.

He is always meticulous about arranging his pens in size order on his desk.
He always does it carefully, so they are 'correct' according to his perception - but that is just a quirk of his nature!

I disagree with 'vigilant' here because that means being on the watch for new danger. He is aware of his debts - he may be diligent in paying them, or scrupulous, but he doesn't have to be on the look-out for any nasty surprises.
If he doesn't pay his debts to the wrong people, and they send a thug after him to break his knee-caps - then he has to be vigilant! Whistle
ChrisKC
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 9:16:22 AM

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I agree with you Thar on the point of my "vigilant" and I think diligent is better than vigilant or scrupulous.

Also I think that the context in the original sentence, while not having any other information to go on, would relate more to his feeling of obligation than anything else.
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 9:59:00 AM
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Ah, sorry to do it to you Chris - but I too think "meticulous" is exactly the right word. I don't see any inference at all with "obligation": a person is either meticulous in some (or all) areas or, (like me) they wish they were, but they just don't have that gene! Though even I, with my slap-dash attitude to most things, am meticulous about my use of words in academic or public contexts. I don't feel any 'obligation' to be so: it's just a quirk of mine.

So I feel that being meticulous about paying one's debts, or cleaning one's shoes, or never hurting another person's feelings, or being punctual, or using butter instead of margarine for cooking, is an innate character trait and thus nothing to do with being obligated to behave this way?
Ashwin Joshi
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 12:38:43 PM

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He is regular in repayment of his debts. or

He regularly repays his debts.

Me Gathering Pebbles at The Seashore.-Aj
thar
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 2:34:37 PM

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The point about 'meticulous' is that is is not about being reliable, or responsible - it is about being obsessively careful, making sure everything is done exactly as it should be.

In Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Antonio was meticulous in repaying his debt to Shylock, because the contract said 'flesh' and didn't allow for any drawing of blood, so he ended up not paying, and stealing all Shylock's money. He was a thieving racist shit, but he was meticulous and read the contract!

Although I do concede that in the original phrase it does mean that he carefully paid all his debts.


It is generally a positive thing, to be very careful. But it can be negative to be excessively precise when that is not needed or wanted.
It doesn't come from a good place!
Quote:
From Latin meticulōsus (“full of fear, timid, fearful, terrible, frightful”), from metus (“fear”) and -culōsus, extracted from perīculōsus (“perilous”).
Sense of "characterized by very precise, conscientious attention to details" is from French méticuleux.


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