spare usefulness

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Quang Hai

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Hello all teachers and members,

In Lost Ground (W. Trevor), there are some descriptions of a farm house.

'Nearly sixty years later, with a ragged front garden separating it from a lane that was used mainly by the Leesons, the house still stood white and slated, no tendrils of creeper softening its spare usefulness'

What is underlined words meaning. Thanks for your explanation.
 

MikeNewYork

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Hello all teachers and members,

In Lost Ground (W. Trevor), there are some descriptions of a farm house.

'Nearly sixty years later, with a ragged front garden separating it from a lane that was used mainly by the Leesons, the house still stood white and slated, no tendrils of creeper softening its spare usefulness'

What is underlined words meaning. Thanks for your explanation.

Are you sure it is not "sparse usefulness"?
 

Quang Hai

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Are you sure it is not "sparse usefulness"?

Confirmed it is spare usefulness. The full sentence is:'Nearly sixty years later, with a ragged front garden separating it from a lane that was used mainly by the Leesons, the house still stood white and slated, no tendrils of creeper softening its spare usefulness. At the back, farm buildings with red corrugated roofs and breeze-block walls were clustered around a concrete yard; fields and orchards were on either side of the lane'
 

MikeNewYork

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Confirmed it is spare usefulness. The full sentence is:'Nearly sixty years later, with a ragged front garden separating it from a lane that was used mainly by the Leesons, the house still stood white and slated, no tendrils of creeper softening its spare usefulness. At the back, farm buildings with red corrugated roofs and breeze-block walls were clustered around a concrete yard; fields and orchards were on either side of the lane'

There is a definition of "spare" that means "meager". That might fit this context, but this usage is not very common in my experience. My guess is it means that house is no longer very useful.
 

bhaisahab

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Confirmed it is spare usefulness. The full sentence is:'Nearly sixty years later, with a ragged front garden separating it from a lane that was used mainly by the Leesons, the house still stood white and slated, no tendrils of creeper softening its spare usefulness. At the back, farm buildings with red corrugated roofs and breeze-block walls were clustered around a concrete yard; fields and orchards were on either side of the lane'

Have a look at this: spare adjective (NOT DECORATED) - definition in British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionary Online
 

BobK

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:up: And I imagine the word 'usefulness' refers to the utilitarian quality of the building.

b
 
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