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  1. #1
    thincat is offline Member
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    Default What are the meanings of these 2 sentences?

    Hi!
    I have some difficulties regarding the understanding of the following 2 sentences in a passage. I hope someone can help me with these:

    “We have all kinds of aggressive impulses, and also creative impulses, which society forbids us to indulge, and the alternatives that it supplies in the shape of football matches and all-in wrestling are hardly adequate. Anyone who hopes that in time it may be possible to abolish war should give serious thought to the problem of satisfying harmlessly the instincts that we inherit from long generations of savages.”

    My questions are:
    1. Does “it” in the first sentence refer to the society? My understanding towards the first sentence is that football matches and wrestling provided by our society are not enough to suffice our aggressive impulses and creative impulses. Am I right?
    2. Regarding the second sentence, does “in time” forms a phrase meaning “eventually” or “not late”? What does “long generations of savages” mean? Is "savages" a plural noun meaning cruel people? Does it mean that humans had been savages for a number of long generations in the past?

    I would appreciate it if you could tell me your understanding of these 2 sentences by simpler English.

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What are the meanings of these 2 sentences?

    Quote Originally Posted by thincat View Post
    Hi!
    I have some difficulties regarding the understanding of the following 2 sentences in a passage. I hope someone can help me with these:

    “We have all kinds of aggressive impulses, and also creative impulses, which society forbids us to indulge, and the alternatives that it supplies in the shape of football matches and all-in wrestling are hardly adequate. Anyone who hopes that in time it may be possible to abolish war should give serious thought to the problem of satisfying harmlessly the instincts that we inherit from long generations of savages.”

    My questions are:
    1. Does “it” in the first sentence refer to the society? My understanding towards the first sentence is that football matches and wrestling provided by our society are not enough to suffice our aggressive impulses and creative impulses. Am I right?
    Yes.

    2. Regarding the second sentence, does “in time” forms a phrase meaning “eventually” or “not late”? "Eventually" or "within an unspecified period of time".

    What does “long generations of savages” mean? Is "savages" a plural noun meaning cruel people? Yes. "Savage" can be a noun.

    Does it mean that humans had been savages for a number of long generations in the past? It doesn't mean that all humans in the past were savages. It simply means that savages have existed for many generations.

    I would appreciate it if you could tell me your understanding of these 2 sentences by simpler English.

    Thank you very much!
    See above.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: What are the meanings of these 2 sentences?

    I think it does indeed mean that if you go back in time far enough, we were all savages.

  4. #4
    thincat is offline Member
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    Default Re: What are the meanings of these 2 sentences?

    Thank you for all your replies. Therefore, does the 2nd sentence, "Anyone who hopes that in time it may be possible to abolish war should give serious thought to the problem of satisfying harmlessly the instincts that we inherit from long generations of savages," carry the meaning that long time ago, humans had been savages for long generations, and the instincts of savage has been passed to us?
    I mean "long generations of savages" is regarded as one noun phrase, meaning being savages for a long generations or a long period of time.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: What are the meanings of these 2 sentences?

    Human beings have been savages for many generations and we have inherited this characteristic.

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