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    #1

    Incapable of affairs

    Hello,

    Can anybody help me with the bold text?

    When I next saw him his manner had assumed a species of change which I can only describe as hideous. It resembled the officious self-importance seen in a person of weak intellect, incapable of affairs, who goads himself with the exhortation, "to business! the time is short—I must even bestir myself!"

    Vaila, M.P.Shiel, 1896

    Thank you very much

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    #2

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    The dictionary I referred to lists more than one definition of the word affairs. Couldn't you find that one of them would suit this situation?

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    #3

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    I know about one or two online dictionaries (thefreedictionary.com is my favourite one) I consult before I ask here. The problem is that after googling the exact phrase "incapable of affairs" there were two different meanings. 1) he was incapable of affairs (with women); 2) he was incapable of affairs, that is to say, he was totally incompetent to do something on his own. I think the option number 2. is the right one; but why not ask somebody who is a native speaker if you are uncertain?

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    #4

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    It's an old text, so the phrase sounds a bit odd, but I would go for the second. The rest of the context does not suggest to me that it is about affairs with women.

  1. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    Yes, it's archaic, as in "incapable of managing his own affairs" or "incapable of managing business affairs".

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    #6

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    Johnyxxx: You have posted several questions lately about words and phrases that may have no practical application beyond understanding the specific passages they come from. I have no objection to your asking questions- that's what we are here for- but I like to help students learn things they can use again and again in their everyday life.

    I suggest you find something more contemporary to read. Certainly no one on this site would discourage any reading, but reading classics and other archaic literature is not going to be a help in learning to communicate with today's English speakers.

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    #7

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    Of course I improve my English by reading contemporary texts, interviews, newspapers, and so on.
    Nevertheless, one of my hobbies is reading classic English horror stories but the problem is that the works of my favourite authors like Shiel, Machen, Hodgson or Blackwood have not been translated into my native Czech language (with several exceptions to the rule). Sometimes I come across something in their writing I cannot understand or I am not sure if I understand so at first I try to follow the elusive meaning on my own by using several methods (googling, using dictionaries etc.) and when I am out of my depth I consult this forum as a last resort.
    That is all.
    Last edited by Johnyxxx; 08-Sep-2015 at 14:11.

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    #8

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    I see.

    You are wasting my time for your hobby.

    I think you have small respect for teachers and their time.
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 08-Sep-2015 at 15:42.

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    #9

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    I have a deep respect for anybody who tries to help the others. And if you think I am wasting your time the solution is very simple - ignore me.

  2. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Incapable of affairs

    (I really appreciate your contributions to the forums, but)
    I don't think you have to say that, J&K Tutoring.
    You could just leave Johny's future threads alone.
    Anyone can ask any questions concerning the English language here, in my opinion.
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 08-Sep-2015 at 17:16.

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