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  1. Tinkerbell's Avatar
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    #1

    a sentence

    "Sometimes," I said, "it enables the sons and daughters of erudite churchmen to be of use to their betters."

    I couldnt understand this sentence.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a sentence

    What is the context?

    It sounds like what it means, more or less, is these children of church members, who are otherwise useless, can be useful in this situation.

    Hard to say.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. Tinkerbell's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a sentence

    Here is the text:

    I shall never forget the day she told me that there was to be a ball at Keverall Court.
    "Of course a young lady in my daughter's position must be brought out formally. I am sure you realize that, Miss Osmond, because although you yourself are not in the same position, you did learn something of gracious living when you were allowed to take lessons here."
    "Graciousness is something that I miss nowadays," I retorted.
    She misunderstood. "You were very fortunate to be allowed to glimpse it for a while. I always think it is a mistake to educate people beyond their stations."
    "Sometimes," I said, "it enables the sons and daughters of erudite churchmen to be of use to their betters."
    "I am glad to see you take that view, Miss Osmond. I have to confess you do not always show such becoming humility."

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a sentence

    Ah.

    Miss Osmond is someone who is not wealthy. She is not part of what this other lady considers to be "polite society." So she is being sarcastic, but this other lady doesn't understand it.

    Miss Osmond is suggesting that getting a good education, which this lady does not think is necessary for people of Miss Osmond's class, helps her to be useful to those who are superior to her in society.

    This whole passage is dripping with irony.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. Tinkerbell's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: a sentence

    Thank you, Barb D

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