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  1. #1
    Kazuo is offline Member
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    A true gentleman is ...

    Hello!

    A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude. (Oscar Wilde) 

    What is a true gentleman like in Oscar Wilde’s view?

    One who is not only never rude intentionally, of course, but never rude, even unintentionally. (IMHO)

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    Oscar Wilde was a famous rapscallion.

    I think he meant what he said. He was reserving the right to be rude when it was called for.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazuo View Post
    Hello!

    A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude. (Oscar Wilde) 

    What is a true gentleman like in Oscar Wilde’s view?

    One who is not only never rude intentionally, of course, but never rude, even unintentionally. (IMHO)

    Thanks in advance
    As well as being a rapscallion (which I admit I had to look up), he was also a satirist and humourist. If his aphorisms sound odd, that's the way they are meant to sound. He was trying to shake up late-Victorian ideas and values.
    There is a grain of truth in even his most outrageous sayings.

  4. #4
    chester_100's Avatar
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    In that case, a positive version of the sentence can be:
    A gentleman should always be intentionally rude.

  5. #5
    Kazuo is offline Member
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    Hello!

    I was interested not only in his saying, but in the double negative. Then, I got
    A true gentleman is one who is intentionally rude,
    which is what I thought before posting. A rather ‘rude’, not refined interpretation, one based on a formality. Unexpectedly, this seems to conform to the Teachers’ ideas.

    Thank you very much

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    Quote Originally Posted by chester_100 View Post
    In that case, a positive version of the sentence can be:
    A gentleman should always be intentionally rude.
    I don't think that is what Wilde meant.
    "A gentleman should only be rude when he intends to be rude."
    He's not saying that gentlemen should always be rude. He saying that if a person is a gentleman, he will have the innate ability not to be rude unintentionally. A gentleman is rude only when it's intentional.

    Here is similar example of the grammar.
    "A good soldier is one who doesn't shoot people unintentionally."
    Wrong interpretation: A good soldier should always intentionally shoot people.
    Right interpretation: A good soldier is one who, if he shoots a person, does so intentionally.
    A good soldier does not unintentionally shoot people, just as a gentleman doesn't unintentionally insult people. However, when the occasion calls for it, a soldier will intentional shoot a person, and a gentleman will intentionally be rude to a person.

    Note: this isn't my philosophy; it's my reading of Wilde's aphorism.
    Last edited by Raymott; 25-Jun-2010 at 03:26.

  7. #7
    chester_100's Avatar
    chester_100 is offline Member
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I don't think that is what Wilde meant.
    "A gentleman should only be rude when he intends to be rude."
    He's not saying that gentlemen should always be rude. He saying that if a person is a gentleman, he will have the innate ability not to be rude unintentionally. A gentleman is rude only when it's intentional.

    Here is similar example of the grammar.
    "A good soldier is one who doesn't shoot people unintentionally."
    Wrong interpretation: A good soldier should always intentionally shoot people.
    Right interpretation: A good soldier is one who, if he shoots a person, does so intentionally.
    A good soldier does not unintentionally shoot people, just as a gentleman doesn't unintentionally insult people. However, when the occasion calls for it, a soldier will intentional shoot a person, and a gentleman will intentionally be rude to a person.

    Note: this isn't my philosophy; it's my reading of Wilde's aphorism.
    I meant as a complementary sentence.

    Maybe always is more emphasized in the positive one, making the impression that the behavior should be observed all the time.

    So, if it makes such an impression, a more moderate version is better?

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    Quote Originally Posted by chester_100 View Post
    So, if it makes such an impression, a more moderate version is better?
    I'd say so.
    When you are saying that something should "always" happen, you need to make it clear what the "always" refers to.

    If a road safety manual said, "You should always stop slowly at an intersection", the possible interpretations are:
    You should always stop at an intersection; and do it slowly. (Wrong)
    When you have to stop at an intersection, you should do it slowly. (Right)

    Similar problematic sentences abound:
    Dogs should always be carried on escalators. (But I don't have a dog!)
    The television should always be turned on at a reasonable sound level. (But there's no one watching it!)
    Criminals should always be hanged at dawn.
    Last edited by Raymott; 25-Jun-2010 at 03:44.

  9. #9
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Dogs should always be carried on escalators. (But I don't have a dog!)
    An even more disturbing instruction existed in my local shopping centre in the UK:

    Children must always be carried on escalators.

    Now much as I like escalators, I'm certainly not going to have a baby just so I can use them!!

  10. #10
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: A true gentleman is ...

    Clearly, the escalator sign should read:

    "ATTENTION DOG OWNERS AND PARENTS OF SMALL CHILDREN ONLY:

    Dogs and small children must always be carried on escalators"


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