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    #1

    It's a Fine Doctor Would Have his Parlour Full of ....

    Dear Teachers,

    I was reading 'The Story of Doctor Dolittle when I came across

    "John, how can you expect sick people to come and see you when you keep all these animals in the house? It's a fine doctor would have his parlour full of hedgehogs and mice!"

    Now the last sentence ... Is this an acceptable sentence? How could I interpret it?

    Best,

    Hiro

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: It's a Fine Doctor Would Have his Parlour Full of ....

    Quote Originally Posted by HSS View Post
    Dear Teachers,

    I was reading 'The Story of Doctor Dolittle when I came across

    "John, how can you expect sick people to come and see you when you keep all these animals in the house? It's a fine doctor would have his parlour full of hedgehogs and mice!"

    Now the last sentence ... Is this an acceptable sentence? How could I interpret it?

    Best,

    Hiro
    It's a relative clause with the pronoun suppressed: It's a fine doctor who/that would have his parlour full of hedgehogs and mice!". I wouldn't say it was acceptable in current speech, but it occurs quite a lot in old texts. This omitted relative pronoun occurs (i.e. doesn't occur) in the fossil:

    'Tis an ill wind blows nobody any good.

    This is usually sanitized, with a "that", but I've found it on this Gaelic site: 200+ seanfhocal . As the site is obviously for Gaelic speakers though, it's possible that this suppressed relative pronoun mimics Gaelic syntax; I really don't know - though it's familiar in some Irish folk lyrics: e.g. 'There was an old woman from Wexford/In Wexford town did dwell'.

    b

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    #3

    Re: It's a Fine Doctor Would Have his Parlour Full of ....

    Hi, Bob.

    So, the meaning of the sentence is, "(Only) a 'fine' doctor would have his office full of hedgedogs and mice (but you are not a fine doctor), isn't it?

    Hiro

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: It's a Fine Doctor Would Have his Parlour Full of ....

    You've reached the right conclusion, but for the wrong reason! 'Fine' is used (here) sarcastically. 'It's a fine doctor [who...]' means 'A good doctor wouldn't do that'. Fine is often used like this: example 'A fine friend you are' - meaning 'that is an unfriendly way to behave'.

    b

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