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what's a pitiful liar?

 
 
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2012 09:44 pm
I was translating a passage. In it, there is a sentence
Fortunately, the book’s authors had a solution: If you are young and single, simply say you are “not yet married” and that will be accepted.

But I was 48. If you are over 30 and unmarried, it’s better to lie.

Ethically, I have a problem with lying, especially to foreign hosts. Realistically, I have a bigger problem: I’m a pitiful liar. What reasoning could have prompted such advice?

what does this mean?

thank you
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 2,557 • Replies: 8
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2012 09:47 pm
@lizfeehily,
It means you are not good at lying.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2012 10:07 pm
@lizfeehily,
Roger is correct. "Pitiful" in this case means "poor." It means you're a very poor liar, that is not good at lying.
lizfeehily
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 01:34 am
@roger,
thank you Roger
0 Replies
 
lizfeehily
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 01:34 am
@Lustig Andrei,
thanks a lot
0 Replies
 
lizfeehily
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 01:39 am
@Lustig Andrei,
then what about "What reasoning could have prompted such advice?" this sentence?
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 02:12 am
@lizfeehily,
There is a trap in the usage you describe, and what you really want to say is "I am a POOR liar". That actually means that you are bad at lying, and hence rarely or never lie.

Saying somebody is a "pitiful liar" means that he or she is a HABITUAL liar and that the situation is pitiful.

Similarly calling somebody a "sorry asshole" doesn't means that he's sorry about being an asshole, it means he's an asshole and the situation (of him being an asshole) is sorry.
lizfeehily
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 02:58 am
@gungasnake,
Thank you for you reply, but could you also help me with "What reasoning could have prompted such advice?" this sentence? I'm not quite sure about what this one means here. Thank you
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 04:18 am
@lizfeehily,
This all goes back to the notion that if a woman hasn't got married by 30 she's a failure. That's why there's the need to lie. You don't get the same attitude towards unmarried men, because they could be involved in other things, and marry later in life, but for the woman there was only domesticity.

This notion is dated, but it still clings on in the mindset of a lot of people. There's a children's card game called Old Maid there are lots of pairs, and the object is to pair up all the sets, but there's only one Old Maid card, and whoever is left with that is the loser.

This attitude was espoused by countless Doris Day films, which have been brilliantly parodied by French & Saunders.

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