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  1. #1
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    Default three sentences confusing me

    1) The pleasantest was to dine at some expensive restaurant; and then, after declaring insolvency, be handed over quietly and without uproar to a policeman.

    I don't quite understand the blue part. Could you please rephrase it?

    2) ...but the US officials denied the move had to do with alleged mistreatment of prisoners.
    Does "had to do with" account to "had anything to do with" here?

    3) "We need as Americans to be a bright, shining light for the treatment of prisoners, " he said. ("Otherwise, we have no right to ask that of our adversaries.")

    I don't quite understand the "need as Americans to be" structure. Could you explain it or the sentence, please?

    Thanks. :wink:

  2. #2
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    Default Re: three sentences confusing me

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe
    1) The pleasantest was to dine at some expensive restaurant; and then, after declaring insolvency, be handed over quietly and without uproar to a policeman.

    I don't quite understand the blue part. Could you please rephrase it?
    To me, it sounds as if the writer is a con artist (a dishonest person who fools other people). He seems to be talking about his past, which involved dressing up and going out to eat at an expensive restaurant. After the meal was completed, he announced that he had no money to pay the bill. The restaurant then called the police and they took him away for "theft".

    2) ...but the US officials denied the move had to do with alleged mistreatment of prisoners.
    Does "had to do with" account to "had anything to do with" here?
    Yes it does. When one adds "anything", it makes the denial a bit stronger.

    3) "We need as Americans to be a bright, shining light for the treatment of prisoners, " he said. ("Otherwise, we have no right to ask that of our adversaries.")

    I don't quite understand the "need as Americans to be" structure. Could you explain it or the sentence, please?
    That sentence could be helped by better punctuation.

    We need, as Americans, to be a bright, shining light for the treatment of prisoners, " he said.

    The phrase "as Americans" is used to highlight a particular aspect of "we". In this case it means We (because we are Americans) need to...

    :wink:

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    Default Re: three sentences confusing me

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    To me, it sounds as if the writer is a con artist (a dishonest person who fools other people). He seems to be talking about his past, which involved dressing up and going out to eat at an expensive restaurant. After the meal was completed, he announced that he had no money to pay the bill. The restaurant then called the police and they took him away for "theft".
    That is an excerpt form a satiric novel in which the dramatis personae want to be put into prison for three months by committing some kind of "small crime". He is a poor man, and with the winter comimg, he want to stay in some place where he does not have to worry about meals and place to sleep.

    Does "without uproar to a policeman" suggest that he will act very quietly without arguing when the police comes to arrest him?

    That sentence could be helped by better punctuation.

    We need, as Americans, to be a bright, shining light for the treatment of prisoners, " he said.

    The phrase "as Americans" is used to highlight a particular aspect of "we". In this case it means We (because we are Americans) need to...
    I am clear with the structure now. But I don't understand "We need to be a bright, shining light for the treatment of prisoners". Could you please explain it somehow?
    :wink:
    Thanks, Mike.

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    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: three sentences confusing me

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe
    That is an excerpt form a satiric novel in which the dramatis personae want to be put into prison for three months by committing some kind of "small crime". He is a poor man, and with the winter comimg, he want to stay in some place where he does not have to worry about meals and place to sleep.

    Does "without uproar to a policeman" suggest that he will act very quietly without arguing when the police comes to arrest him?
    Yes, it means he went quietly.

    That sentence could be helped by better punctuation.

    We need, as Americans, to be a bright, shining light for the treatment of prisoners, " he said.

    The phrase "as Americans" is used to highlight a particular aspect of "we". In this case it means We (because we are Americans) need to...
    I am clear with the structure now. But I don't understand "We need to be a bright, shining light for the treatment of prisoners". Could you please explain it somehow?
    :wink:
    Thanks, Mike.
    It means that America stands for fairness and justice. We cannot expect anybody to take that stance seriously if we act as badly as the thugs we are trying to defeat. :wink:

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    Default Re: three sentences confusing me

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    It means that America stands for fairness and justice.
    "We... are ... a.. light" is kind of confusing to me, because "we" are "human beings" but not physical substance "light". Can I say that "light" here is a metaphor for "fairness" and "justice"? :wink:

  6. #6
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    Default Re: three sentences confusing me

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    It means that America stands for fairness and justice.
    "We... are ... a.. light" is kind of confusing to me, because "we" are "human beings" but not physical substance "light". Can I say that "light" here is a metaphor for "fairness" and "justice"? :wink:
    Yes, it is a metaphor. It means that America is a light, a beacon. We often talk of "freedom" and "liberty" being lights that dispel the darkness of oppression.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    See the Statue of Liberty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    See the Statue of Liberty.
    Indeed. There is also a Biblical reference to a "shining city on a hill", isn't there?

  9. #9
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    I'm afraid I don't know. ;-(

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I'm afraid I don't know. ;-(

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