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    #1

    Call a spade a spade

    Hello,

    Could the idiom to call a spade a spade be used in the context below?

    "Let us call a spade a spade; your husband is definitely not normal. Nobody would turn up at a party, disguised as Stalin."

    Thanks a lot.
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  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    The use of "call a spade a spade" seems a little extreme there. I don't see any reason for someone not to turn up at a fancy-dress party dressed (not "disguised") as Stalin unless, maybe, they were going to a party in Russia.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    The use of "call a spade a spade" seems a little extreme there. I don't see any reason for someone not to turn up at a fancy-dress party dressed (not "disguised") as Stalin unless, maybe, they were going to a party in Russia.
    I am not talking about a fancy-dress party; I am talking about a regular barbecue party.
    Not a Teacher

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    #4

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnyxxx View Post
    I am not talking about a fancy-dress party; I am talking about a regular barbecue party.
    Well, admittedly, that would be unusual/weird. However, "not normal" is an adjective, not a noun, and usually the "spade" in question is a noun.

    Let's call a spade a spade. Your husband is a nutter! Who turns up at a barbecue dressed as Stalin?!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    If you want to go with the normal idea, how about abnormal?

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    #6

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    NOT A TEACHER



    Hello, Johny:

    Because I am elderly, I was jarred (slightly shocked) when I read the title of your thread.

    Yes, that expression is fine in the proper context, as the other posters explained.

    Nevertheless, I would respectfully advise you to NEVER use that expression here in the United States.

    I do NOT know whether the younger generation is aware of the fact, but that expression was often considered very offensive in some contexts.

    I cannot be specific here, so you need to google the expression to find out why it is (was?) considered offensive by some people.

    If you come to the States, do NOT take any chances. It is my opinion that you should avoid the expression in all contexts.

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    #7

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    "Spade" was once a very offensive racial slur. Nobody has used it that way in decades. Although to call a spade a spade is a little less used than it once was, the expression predates the racist use of the word by centuries.

    You can use the expression if you want to.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    The Parser's "explanation" is so vague as to be worthless. In years gone by, "spade" was an offensive term for a black person. Used in that context, it would be completely unacceptable and offensive. Used in the perfectly acceptable phrase "call a spade a spade", it's absolutely fine.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 24-Jul-2016 at 18:33. Reason: Oops! Fixed name of poster I was referring to!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    I very much respect TheParser's advice on this but I'm a little unsure as to whether he/she is referring only to the derogatory and completely unacceptable 'a spade' or whether also to the idiom 'to call a spade a spade'? It's just that I have trouble imagining how the latter idiom could be used in a racially abusive context. (I'm not suggesting it wasn't, though.)

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    #10

    Re: Call a spade a spade

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    NOT A TEACHER

    It is my opinion that you should avoid the expression in all contexts.
    Thank you very much for answering but call a spade a spade was introduced into English in 1542 and I can see no reason why it should be connected to a racist and unacceptable expression. By the way, call a spade a spade can be found in 1000 englische Redensarten (1996), so I doubt they would dare to publish something which cannot be or should not be used because it is offensive.
    Last edited by Johnyxxx; 24-Jul-2016 at 16:48.
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