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    #1

    Abstract ideas needed to be decoded

    Dear teachers,

    Being a non-native English speaker, I have difficulties in understanding the expressions marked in red in the following extracts:

    The Fowler brothers, writing in 1906, refer to the indulgence in qualifying adverbs (perhaps, possibly, probably, rather, a little, somewhat and so on) as a disease of British journalists. They deplore the “intemperate orgy of moderation” that they find renewed every morning in the daily newspapers.

    Gowers cites unduly, relatively, and comparatively as the most fashionable “adverbial dressing gowns, ” pointing out that those words “can only properly be used when something has been mentioned or implied which gives a standard of comparison.” When there is no standard of comparison, “ their use is merely a shrinking from the nakedness of an unqualified statement.”

    Thank you for your help.

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    #2

    Re: Abstract ideas needed to be decoded

    Gosh.

    They are basically saying that the (then) modern British journalists used to flesh out their text with unnecessary words, rather than to produce shorter text.

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    #3

    Re: Abstract ideas needed to be decoded

    Thanks for your advice, Waflob. However, I would appreciate it if you could tell me the meaning of the expressions in red in plain words. Thanks again.

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    #4

    Re: Abstract ideas needed to be decoded

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepurple View Post
    intemperate orgy of moderation
    They over-use (adverbs) of moderation to an excessive degree, almost as if they were having a wild, drunken party of moderation.
    a shrinking from the nakedness of an unqualified statement
    They try to avoid getting too close to the shocking crudeness of a sentence that contains no qualifying/moderating adverbs.

    The Fowlers and Gowers are suggesting humorously that the writers they are criticising seem to think that the sight of a plain adjective on its own is as shocking as that of a naked person.They try to avoid this by wildly, almost drunkenly 'clothing' the naked adjectives with moderating adverbs.

    The Fowlers are possibly being a little excessive in their somewhat colourful criticism. Gowers is unduly harsh and comparatively prescriptive in his views.

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    #5

    Re: Abstract ideas needed to be decoded

    Thank you very much, 5jj
    "Sound and clear".
    The problem is I couldn't find the definition of "moderation" in a dictionary as explained by yours.
    Last edited by Deepurple; 17-Nov-2011 at 09:16.

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