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    #1

    Tall

    In the following paragraph, the word "tall" could mean either great in style, or too boastful. But the former is positive and the latter is negative. What do you think? Thanks a lot.

    New York is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader, and the merchant. It carries on its lapel the unexpungeable odor of the long past, so that no matter where you sit in New York you feel the vibrations of great times and tall deeds, of queer people and events and undertakings. (From E.B White's essay "Here Is New York")


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    #2

    Re: Tall

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    In the following paragraph, the word "tall" could mean either great in style, or too boastful. But the former is positive and the latter is negative. What do you think? Thanks a lot.

    New York is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader, and the merchant. It carries on its lapel the unexpungeable odor of the long past, so that no matter where you sit in New York you feel the vibrations of great times and tall deeds, of queer people and events and undertakings. (From E.B White's essay "Here Is New York")
    Usually a "tall tale" means a story that has been exaggerated. It is not an outright lie but the hero was not quite as heroic or the problem not quite as great as the real-life situation.

    I think that is what is meant by "tall deed"..."deed" in this context meaning "brave or skillful act"

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    #3

    Re: Tall

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    Usually a "tall tale" means a story that has been exaggerated. It is not an outright lie but the hero was not quite as heroic or the problem not quite as great as the real-life situation.

    I think that is what is meant by "tall deed"..."deed" in this context meaning "brave or skillful act"
    Thanks. Naamplao. But I still want to further explore this word. If we look at the context, to have a phrase equally positive to "great time" is also possible, isn't it? I thought "tall" could be grand in a positive way, as in "a short man with tall deeds." Thanks again.


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    #4

    Re: Tall

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    Thanks. Naamplao. But I still want to further explore this word. If we look at the context, to have a phrase equally positive to "great time" is also possible, isn't it? I thought "tall" could be grand in a positive way, as in "a short man with tall deeds." Thanks again.
    "tall" can mean many things depending on the words that it is modifying.

    If you "walk tall" then you walk proudly, you have confidence, perhaps you have done something worth praise.

    However, "tall tales" or (in my opinion) "tall deeds" are not so positive. They are stories that have a thread of truth through them but they are exaggerated as I said, not 100% true.

    Another common expression is "tall order"

    To finish this task on time was a tall order for Jon today.

    "tall order" here means an almost impossible situation.

    Your example, "a short man with tall deeds", seems to describe a man short of stature who has several stories told about him. These stories make him larger than life, he has a reputation but is it 100% true???

    It is sort of like being a gunfighter in the old American West. Often their reputation with a gun was bigger than their ability to use it.

    As you can see the use of the word "tall" is quite complex and doesn't always mean greatness...or genuine greatness anyway.

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    #5

    Re: Tall

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    "tall" can mean many things depending on the words that it is modifying.

    If you "walk tall" then you walk proudly, you have confidence, perhaps you have done something worth praise.

    However, "tall tales" or (in my opinion) "tall deeds" are not so positive. They are stories that have a thread of truth through them but they are exaggerated as I said, not 100% true.

    Another common expression is "tall order"

    To finish this task on time was a tall order for Jon today.

    "tall order" here means an almost impossible situation.

    Your example, "a short man with tall deeds", seems to describe a man short of stature who has several stories told about him. These stories make him larger than life, he has a reputation but is it 100% true???

    It is sort of like being a gunfighter in the old American West. Often their reputation with a gun was bigger than their ability to use it.

    As you can see the use of the word "tall" is quite complex and doesn't always mean greatness...or genuine greatness anyway.
    Thanks again. Your explanation is very clear to me. I think we are getting closer to each other. To make it clearer, let me say this:

    I don't really mean TALL as a "very" positive thing, but on the negative side, it does not go so far as to mean "boastful" or "absurd" in this case. In other words, after all, it is a relatively positive rather than a negative word. IS this acceptable to you?

    Also could you clarify the following: in the same sentence, do you think the last word "undertakings" is also modified by queer? I think "queer" modifies the fist two words (people and events), but not sure about the "undertakings".

    Thanks a million.


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    #6

    Re: Tall

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    Thanks again. Your explanation is very clear to me. I think we are getting closer to each other. To make it clearer, let me say this:

    I don't really mean TALL as a "very" positive thing, but on the negative side, it does not go so far as to mean "boastful" or "absurd" in this case. In other words, after all, it is a relatively positive rather than a negative word. IS this acceptable to you?

    I believe I have described my feelings about the use of "tall". This is not a negotiation Let us say that on a scale of -10 (negative) to +10 (positive)
    "tall deed" or "tall tale" is about a -1 or -2...in my opinion

    Also could you clarify the following: in the same sentence, do you think the last word "undertakings" is also modified by queer? I think "queer" modifies the first two words (people and events), but not sure about the "undertakings".

    Yes, "queer" modifies all three.

    Thanks a million.
    ...

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    #7

    Re: Tall

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    ...
    Thanks a lot. Your answers are all very good, especially the the scale of -10 to +10.

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