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    #1

    why so many "off"

    The report details the slope linking income and health: The poor are worse off than the less deprived, who in turn are worse off than those with average incomes. This "social gradient" is seen everywhere, including the most well-off countries like Canada.


    Hi there,

    Can I remove the 2 first "off" and preserve the meaning of the sentence, please? If so, what is the function of those 2 first "off" in the sentence?

    As to the third "off", it is part of an expression that mean "lucky", right? Can I say that the usage of the 3rd "off" was only a matter of style, that is, the writer just wanted to look clever and harmonic with the rest of the text?

    Thanks.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: why so many "off"

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    The report details the slope linking income and health: The poor are worse off than the less deprived, who in turn are worse off than those with average incomes. This "social gradient" is seen everywhere, including the most well-off countries like Canada.


    Hi there,

    Can I remove the 2 first "off" and preserve the meaning of the sentence, please?
    If so, what is the function of those 2 first "off" in the sentence?
    The reason would be clearer if the writer had been more consistent with the hyphen. There are two contrasting terms: "badly-off" and "well-off."

    As to the third "off", it is part of an expression that mean "lucky", right? It means "prosperous", so in some contexts it can have the connotation 'lucky', especially in the context of someone not knowing when s/he's well-off.. . But usually well-off doesn't mean lucky; King Midas was well-off but he wasn't lucky: Midas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Can I say that the usage of the 3rd "off" was only a matter of style, that is, the writer just wanted to look clever and harmonic with the rest of the text?
    No, he was saying what he meant.
    Thanks.
    If you said 'The poor are worse', you'd be open to the question "Worse at what?"

    b

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    #3

    Re: why so many "off"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    If you said 'The poor are worse', you'd be open to the question "Worse at what?"

    b
    Thanks.

    The sentence is "the poor are worse [off] than the less deprived who in turn are worse [off] than those...". My foreigner mind doesn't see how this sentence could be open to such a question. As fas as I can see, it's clear that "the poor" is being compared to "the less deprived". Do I have to use "off" after "worse" every time I compare two things?

    This car is worse [off] than that one.

    Thanks.

  2. buggles's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: why so many "off"

    A native speaker generally uses worse off or better off in a financial situation.
    People who are better off are wealthier than average. Those who are worse off are poorer than average.
    We say, e.g. "The better off can afford to buy new cars, but the worse off find it hard to pay their bus fares."

    So you could say a better off person can buy a better car than most, but you could not say their car was better off - only better.

    Buggles(not a teacher)
    Last edited by buggles; 31-Aug-2008 at 18:14. Reason: missing f

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: why so many "off"

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    Thanks.

    The sentence is "the poor are worse [off] than the less deprived who in turn are worse [off] than those...". My foreigner mind doesn't see how this sentence could be open to such a question. As fas as I can see, it's clear that "the poor" is being compared to "the less deprived". Do I have to use "off" after "worse" every time I compare two things?

    This car is worse [off] than that one.

    Thanks.
    The square brackets do not belong in your sentence. If you remove the offs, the sentence becomes open to just such a question:

    'The poor are worse than the less deprived...'... Worse at tennis?... (This is not a serious question, but is an example of the sort of question this omission invites).

    As buggles pointed out, the words "worse-off" and "worse" have different meanings. I suspect your difficulty in grasping this comes from the idea that some people learning and teaching languages have, that in some sense one word "is the same as" another. You have met "worse-off" and "worse" in contexts where it happens to make sense to translate them with the same word in another language, and conclude from this that the words are equivalent. Stop thinking of translating from one word to another, and start trying to 'translate' an idea into language.



    b

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    #6

    Re: why so many "off"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The square brackets do not belong in your sentence. If you remove the offs, the sentence becomes open to just such a question:

    'The poor are worse than the less deprived...'... Worse at tennis?... (This is not a serious question, but is an example of the sort of question this omission invites).

    As buggles pointed out, the words "worse-off" and "worse" have different meanings. I suspect your difficulty in grasping this comes from the idea that some people learning and teaching languages have, that in some sense one word "is the same as" another. You have met "worse-off" and "worse" in contexts where it happens to make sense to translate them with the same word in another language, and conclude from this that the words are equivalent. Stop thinking of translating from one word to another, and start trying to 'translate' an idea into language.



    b
    Thanks!

    No, I wasn't translating but now I see what you mean! ''Worse-off'' is the appropriate word because the comparison involves financial situation (according to Buggles), right? Oddly, I couldn't find "worse-off" in Dictionary.com.

    Just to make sure I understood the matter, could I say :

    "the poor are financially (or economically) worse than the less deprived..."? or
    "the poor are, financially speaking, worse than...''
    ''the poor, financially speaking, are worse than ..."
    ''the poor, financially speaking, are in a worse situation than ..."

    Thanks!
    Last edited by jctgf; 01-Sep-2008 at 00:12.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: why so many "off"

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    Thanks!

    No, I wasn't translating but now I see what you mean! ''Worse-off'' is the appropriate word because the comparison involves financial situation (according to Buggles), right? Oddly, I couldn't find "worse-off" in Dictionary.com.

    Just to make sure I understood the matter, could I say :

    "the poor are financially (or economically) worse than the less deprived..."? or
    "the poor are, financially speaking, worse than...''
    ''the poor, financially speaking, are worse than ..."
    ''the poor, financially speaking, are in a worse situation than ..."

    Thanks!
    Only the last one - sorry . If you want to use "worse" as an adjective in a sentence like this (that compares something with something better), you have to introduce a noun that it can apply to; for example 'the living conditions of the poor are worse than those of the less deprived' or 'the financial situation of the poor is worse than that of the less deprived' - as you did in your fourth option.

    b


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    #8

    Re: why so many "off"

    Worse off is the comparative of badly off, which can be found in Dictionary.com.

    In these sentences, you are still going to suffer from the problem that the response will be "worse at what".

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