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  1. suprunp's Avatar
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    one-and-a-half too many

    Farmer Oak had one-and-a-half Christian characteristics too many to succeed with Bathsheba: his humility, and a superfluous moiety of honesty.
    (Thomas Hardy; Far from the Madding Crowd)

    Does it by any chance mean that 'one' of his 'one-and-a-half' characteristics was 'his humility', while 'a half' being 'a superfluous moiety of honesty', which might mean that Bathsheba wasn't really humble, but was honest, even though to a lesser degree than Oak?


  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: one-and-a-half too many

    Farmer Oak was humble (one characteristic) and at least a little honest (half a characteristic).

    It says nothing about Bathsheba's humility or honesty; you have to infer she was neither of those, since she doesn't seem to like them in other people.

    (I had to look up "moiety.")

    And no, we don't usually talk about "half a characteristic. This was the author's playful choice.
    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. Grumpy's Avatar
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    Re: one-and-a-half too many

    I agree with you, suprunp.
    It's clear that Farmer Oak's humility counted as one of the "Christian characteristics too many", and his "superfluous moiety of honesty" was the additional half. Considering humility first, I think we may safely infer that someone who does not appreciate humility in someone else is not very humble themselves. Looking at honesty, a "superfluous moiety" means an unwanted half. Putting that another way, one could say that - so far as getting on with Bathsheba was concerned - Farmer Oak was twice as honest as he should have been. Thus, it seems that Bathsheba did appreciate a certain amount of honesty, and hence we may assume that she herself was honest to that same degree. What she didn't actually like was Farmer Oak's complete lack of sensitivity in this case!
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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