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  1. #1
    Peter Jiong is offline Member
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    putting them to a fence

    With women, my dear sir, you must be firm. When you’re putting them to a fence, close your legs and don’t check them; but mind you keep ’em under control or they’ll lose their little heads. A man should always let a woman see that he’s got her well in hand.

    From
    Mrs. Craddock (set in the late 19th century) by W Somerset Maugham

    What does the underlined part mean?
    Last edited by GoesStation; 28-Oct-2020 at 15:29. Reason: Change title to reflect message content

  2. #2
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: putting them to a fence

    Please note that I have changed your thread title.


    Extract from the Posting Guidelines:


    "Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed."
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #3
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: putting them to a fence

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    'Putting them to a fence' is heading them towards something they have to jump over (horses) or overcome (women).
    This is archaic usage today which learners should not emulate.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. #4
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Re: putting them to a fence

    I know the text is from a work of literature, but I find those remarks quite offensive. I wouldn't follow that kind of advice.

  5. #5
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: putting them to a fence

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    I know the text is from a work of literature, but I find those remarks quite offensive. I wouldn't follow that kind of advice.
    I don't understand. What offends you about the advice?
    I am not a teacher.

  6. #6
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Re: putting them to a fence

    Women are not horses. They're humans. The idea of manipulating somebody and treating them as if they were animals is not my cup of tea.
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 28-Oct-2020 at 18:01.

  7. #7
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Moderator
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    Re: putting them to a fence

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Women are not horses. They're humans. The idea of manipulating somebody and treating them as if they were animals is not my cup of tea.
    Fair enough, but we don't know without more context what character Maugham gave these words to, nor to what narrative purpose. Speaking as himself, Maugham would be unlikely to say anything about how to handle women -- he was exclusively gay in the last half of his life.
    Last edited by probus; 28-Oct-2020 at 20:21. Reason: Expand and correct

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: putting them to a fence

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Jiong View Post
    With women, my dear sir, you must be firm ... but mind you keep ’em under control or they’ll lose their little heads. A man should always let a woman see that he’s got her well in hand.
    Regardless of the fact that the opinions and behaviour above were prevalent in the late 19th century, it cannot be stated strongly enough that these days they are not only offensive but entirely unacceptable in the majority of English-speaking countries and the rest of the Western world.
    It's entirely possible that most of the learners here know that already but we do generally point out anything that we believe is an important cultural aspect, especially one that would be vital to know if a learner came, for example, to the UK for a visit or to live.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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