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    #1

    Smile right little beggars to get rid of

    Hello. I wonder what the underlined part means in this context below.
    Does it mean the roaches in the shop are very little and it was hard to get rid of them?
    Please help. Thank you.

    =========
    "What was that?"
    "Roaches. My uncle had roaches in his shop-right little beggars to get rid of.
    Did you know they reckon cockroaches would survive a nuclear war?"

  1. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    Quote Originally Posted by frindle View Post
    Does it mean the roaches in the shop are very little and it was hard to get rid of them?
    NOT A TEACHER

    No, I don't think so. There's no mention in the text that it was actually hard to get rid of the roaches. It seems that he or she is describing what the roaches were like. They were beggars that needed to be exterminated.

    "Right" in this context means the following:

    8 emphasis [ only before noun ] British English spoken used to emphasize how bad someone or something is SYN total , complete : He sounds like a right idiot!

    The house was in a right mess when we got back.

    Source: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 26-May-2012 at 15:15.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    Quote Originally Posted by frindle View Post
    "Roaches. My uncle had roaches in his shop-right little beggars to get rid of.
    Did you know they reckon cockroaches would survive a nuclear war?"
    This informal expression means that they were very difficult to get rid off. Less sensitive people might replace the e of 'beggars' with a u.

  3. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    This informal expression means that they were very difficult to get rid off. Less sensitive people might replace the e of 'beggars' with a u.
    On second reading of the sentence, this makes absolute sense. (I thought at first that it meant something similar to: "Roaches. My uncle had roaches in his shop-right little beggars that need to be exterminated. Here little is just a description of the roaches).
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 26-May-2012 at 16:22.

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    #5

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    (I thought at first that it meant something similar to: "Roaches. My uncle had roaches in his shop-right little beggars that need to be exterminated. Here little is just a description of the roaches).
    It isn't necessarily. 'Right little xxxs' are probably not particularly large, but the emphasis in expressions of this sort is on how annoying/bad/unpleasant they are, not on their size.

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    #6

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    My cousin is nearly 2 metres tall and 28 years old. My aunt (his mother) still says "You little bugger" when she's angry with him.

    Note: normally, I would use an asterisk for b*gger and from now on I will, but I wanted to make it clear that she never calls him "a little beggar".

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    #7

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    I'll write the word with no asterisk in the post. The word 'bugger' is an interesting one, in that some people find it offensive in any context, but others find it quite inoffensive at times. The expression 'play silly buggers' for example is indeed informal, but occasionally heard by people who would never use what they consider to be offensive words. My mother has been known to describe me as a 'daft/silly bugger'. She is horrified if I let slip the F-word, as ems's aunt would probably be.

    I recommend that learners do not use the word, as there is a risk of causing offence, However, they should not be too surprised if they hear it.

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    #8

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    It isn't necessarily. 'Right little xxxs' are probably not particularly large, but the emphasis in expressions of this sort is on how annoying/bad/unpleasant they are, not on their size.
    Interesting. But what if we were to omit "right". Would the sentence still retain its original meaning? My guess is that it won't.

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    #9

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    Interesting. But what if we were to omit "right". Would the sentence still retain its original meaning? My guess is that it won't.
    Your guess would be wrong.

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    #10

    Re: right little beggars to get rid of

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    Interesting. But what if we were to omit "right". Would the sentence still retain its original meaning? My guess is that it won't.
    It adds emphasis, so removing it would affect the degree of difficulty, but wouldn't change the meaning fundamentally IMO.

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