Skip to main content

" Although money ought by no means to be regarded as a chief end of man's life, neither is it a trifling matter, to be held in philosophic contempt, representing as it does to so large an extent, the means of physical comfort and social well-being"
I quoted it from: http://www.studyguidezone.com/thea_reading.htm
Can you explain the structure of that sentence?
What is held in philosophic contempt? How many simple sentences in that sentence?
It's too difficult for me to understand.
All your comments are welcome here. Thank you very much for your help.
Original Post
quote:
" Although money ought by no means to be regarded as a chief end of man's life, neither is it a trifling matter, to be held in philosophic contempt, representing as it does to so large an extent, the means of physical comfort and social well-being"

Samuel Smiles, 1859
My goodness, Mabu! What have we here? Smile
quote:
Can you explain the structure of that sentence?
The basic sentence ends at "matter": "Although money ought by no means to be regarded as a chief end of man's life, neither is it a trifling matter." Inversion is used in the second half. "Neither is it a trifling matter" means "it is a not a trifling matter, either."

"To be held in philosophic contempt" comments on "a trifling matter." If money were a trifling matter, it could be held in philosophic contempt for being a trifling matter.

"Representing as it does to so large an extent, the means of physical comfort and social well-being" comments on why money is not (according to Smiles) a trifling matter. Smiles could have added a helpful comma after "representing"; "as it does to so large an extent" is parenthetical.
quote:
What is held in philosophic contempt?
Money. It's not to be held in philosophic contempt (according to Smiles).
quote:
How many simple sentences in that sentence?
What do you mean by "simple sentences"? Here's a list of the finite and nonfinite clauses I find in the sentence. The first clause (the root clause) is the entire sentence.
    (1) "Although money ought by no means to be regarded as a chief end of man's life, neither is it a trifling matter, to be held in philosophic contempt, representing as it does to so large an extent, the means of physical comfort and social well-being."

    (2) "although money ought by no means to be regarded as a chief end of man's life"

    (3) "neither is it a trifling matter"

    (4) "to be held in philosophic contempt"

    (5) "representing . . . the means of physical comfort and social well-being"

    (6) "as it does to so large an extent"
Hello, Mabu,

The title of the text in which your example appears is Self-help: With Illustrations of Character, Conduct and Perseverance (1859), by Samuel Smiles. Three sentences below the sentence we've examined, Smiles quotes from Sir Henry Taylor's Notes from Life (1847).

"Notes," in Henry Taylor's title, does not refer to monetary notes. It refers to written observations about life. Think of attending a lecture. If you took notes on the information communicated in the lecture, afterwards you would have notes from that lecture.

Analogously, Henry Taylor was attentive to the lessons yielded by his life experience, and took notes on them. Then he presented them to the world in his work Notes from Life. Here's a quotation from page viii of the preface of Taylor's work. The sentence is even more ornate and old-fashioned than the one we examined above, with archaic punctuation to boot!
quote:
"I advert, now, to this book and its indifferent fortunes, because whatever may have been its demerits, my present work must be regarded as to some extent comprehended in the same design,—that, namely, of embodying in the form of maxims and reflections the immediate results of an attentive observation of life,—of official life in the former volume,—of life at large in this."
"notes" = maxims & reflections based on attentive observation of life

Samuel Smiles (1812–1904)


Sir Henry Taylor (1800–1886)
Thank you very much, Mr. David. I hope you don't mind my asking. But could you explain one more sentence in Self-help by Samuel Smiles to me? I have to admit that my English is not good enough to understand it.
"Nor ought the duty to be any less indifferent to us, that the respect which our fellow-men entertain for us in no slight degree depends upon the manner in which we exercise the opportunities which present themselves for our honourable advancement in life"
What does "entertain for" mean? Could you rephrase that sentence for me?
Thank you very much for your help.
quote:
"Nor ought the duty to be any the less indifferent to us, that the respect which our fellow-men entertain for us in no slight degree depends upon the manner in which we exercise the opportunities which present themselves for our honourable advancement in life"
What does "entertain for" mean? Could you rephrase that sentence for me?
Hello, Mabu,

You could substitute "have" for "entertain" in that sentence: ". . . the respect which our fellow-men have for us . . . ." Here, "entertain" means "to hold in mind; harbor" (see definition 3b here). In today's world, most English speakers would not speak of entertaining respect for someone. We would speak of having respect for someone.

"The duty" is not defined explicitly in the passage. However, the context seems to make it clear that he is referring to the duty to strive to attain comfort in worldly circumstances. "Comfort in worldly circumstances," he says, "secures that physical satisfaction, which is necessary for the culture of the better part of [a man's] nature; and enables him to provide for those of his own house."

I think the sentence could be rephrased as follows. The fact that the respect which our fellow men have for us depends greatly upon how well we seize opportunities for honorable advancement should make the duty to attain comfort in worldly circumstances matter even more to us.

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×