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Tomahawk71
Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017 2:00:49 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/7/2010
Posts: 380
Neurons: 121,606
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Hi, what does "to be less of a..." mean, please?
Here is the context:


'Do forgive my deplorable descent into Carne gossip. You find us a little cut off, here, do you not? We are often held to be cut off, I know. Carne is a "Snob School", that is the cry. You may read it every day in the gutter press. And yet, despite the claims of the avant-garde ,' he said, glancing slyly at Fielding, 'I may say that no one could be less of a snob than Felix D'Arcy.'
Is Felix the snobbiest person?
Or is he the least snobby person?
thar
Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017 3:43:41 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 15,290
Neurons: 60,813
OK.
The key is 'despite...'

The school has a reputation for being snobbish.

But.
Nobody can be less of a snob than Felix.

Ie
Anyone else would be more snobbish than him - he is not at all snobbish. He is very egalitarian.
Being a snob is gradational. You can be more of a snob, or less of a snob, than someone else.


You must have seen the pattern, that when you are describing someone, you rarely say what they are. You use a negative, or double negative. This is similar - you don't straight out say 'he is not snobbish' - that is too direct. Whistle
You use the idiom saying he is the least snobbish person you could imagine.

The idiom you use is 'nobody is less of a ____ than him'.


Tomahawk71
Posted: Friday, June 30, 2017 2:29:48 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/7/2010
Posts: 380
Neurons: 121,606
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
thar wrote:
OK.
The key is 'despite...'

The school has a reputation for being snobbish.

But.
Nobody can be less of a snob than Felix.

Ie
Anyone else would be more snobbish than him - he is not at all snobbish. He is very egalitarian.
Being a snob is gradational. You can be more of a snob, or less of a snob, than someone else.


You must have seen the pattern, that when you are describing someone, you rarely say what they are. You use a negative, or double negative. This is similar - you don't straight out say 'he is not snobbish' - that is too direct. Whistle
You use the idiom saying he is the least snobbish person you could imagine.

The idiom you use is 'nobody is less of a ____ than him'.




Double negatives must be banned! Not talking
Thank you, Thar! Applause
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, July 01, 2017 6:47:52 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 26,242
Neurons: 139,836
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Double negatives are useful on some occasions . . .

I want a hamburger.

I don't want a hamburger.

I don't not want a hamburger, but I'd rather have Lancashire hot-pot!


"I don't not . . ." shows that your feelings are not really negative, but not really positive either.

However - usually - double negatives are a pain!


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Tomahawk71
Posted: Saturday, July 01, 2017 9:13:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/7/2010
Posts: 380
Neurons: 121,606
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
[quote=Drag0nspeaker]Double negatives are useful on some occasions . . .

I want a hamburger.

I don't want a hamburger.

I don't not want a hamburger, but I'd rather have Lancashire hot-pot!


"I don't not . . ." shows that your feelings are not really negative, but not really positive either.

However - usually - double negatives are a pain!
thar
Posted: Saturday, July 01, 2017 10:02:13 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 15,290
Neurons: 60,813
Maybe that would be no bad thing.

But negatives and double negatives are an essential cultural tool. They enable you express strong feelings without ever saying the emotive words. Whistle
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