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  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #1

    folly

    Hello,

    The following paragraph is from the BBC News(BBC News - HS2: Businesses 'not convinced' of economic benefits);

    The IoD's director general, Simon Walker, described the project as "one grand folly".

    I had to look it up because my recollection was that the word was something about foolishness and that wasn't something I expected from a body of businesmen towards a goverment, especially when it came to a new investment.

    I looked it up on folly - definition of folly by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. , and the results are as follows;

    n., pl. -lies. 1. the state or quality of being foolish; lack of understanding or sense.
    2. a foolish action, practice, idea, etc.; absurdity.
    3. a costly and foolish undertaking; unwise investment or expenditure.
    4. a whimsical or extravagant and often useless structure built to serve as a conversation piece, lend interest to a view, etc.
    5. follies, a theatrical revue.
    6. Obs. wickedness; wantonness.

    When someone says the word folly, its connotation to me was just like the one in the second definition. But as far as I see the third definition is more likely for this instance, the fourth one is also has, give or take, the same connotation as well although it is about buildings.

    It wouldn't have stricken me as odd it was something said by a citizen or an mp in the opposition, but when it is from a representative of the businessmen. Even if they have something to say to the goverment, even if they would like to say that the goverment is doing something stupid, they are smart enough to it tactfully. I mean they would say things like, inefficient investment, low investment-income ratio, etc.

    So I assume that the word folly has a lighter meaning than the ones decribed in the dictionaries or it is nowadays used as a unprofitable investment or unfeasible project.

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

    P.S.: I hope that the moderators of the forums don't take my question as a political one. The thread is strictly about the use of an English word not about politics.
    Last edited by euncu; 28-Aug-2013 at 17:54. Reason: typo correction

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    #2

    Re: folly

    not a teacher

    #3 is the relevant definition for your example.
    Although it is strongly critical, in the sort of public debate that often accompanies a project like this it's not unusual and I don't think it would be considered particularly offensive, if that's what you're asking.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: folly

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    It wouldn't have stricken me as odd it was something said by a citizen or an mp in the opposition ...,
    It wouldn't have struck me as odd if it was/were/had been something said by a citizen or an opposition MP, ...

  3. euncu's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: folly

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    It wouldn't have struck me as odd if it was/were/had been something said by a citizen or an opposition MP, ...
    Hello 5jj,

    Thanks for corrections. The missing if was caused by writing fast but your other corrections are a bit confusing to me. Because as far as I know "stricken" can be alternatively used with struck as the v3 form of the verb "strike" (But I can't say which one is common). Also, what was wrong with "an MP in the oppositon"? (except you're right about the capitilisation)

    I also welcome other members' answers as well.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: folly

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Because as far as I know "stricken" can be alternatively used with struck as the v3 form of the verb "strike" (But I can't say which one is common).
    We use the third form/past participle 'stricken' only when it has the meaning of the adjective.
    Also, what was wrong with "an MP in the opposition"?
    We don't say it, that's all.

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