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Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then?

How to paraphrase the sentences? And

  1. The meaning of "ever" in the sentence
  2. Is "in the least degree" parallel to "ever for a moment" or "for a moment"?
  3. Is "Why has every man a conscience" the same as "Why does every man have a conscience"? Does it mean "Is it meaningful that everyone needs a conscience?" or "Conscience is useless, but why does everyone own it? "

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  1. The word ever means "on any occasion" here.

  2. This is a difficult question to answer with certainty, but I would be inclined to think that "ever" applies to both "for a moment" and "in the least degree."

  3. Yes, it means the same thing as "Why does every man have a conscience, then?" In formal writing or in British English, it is possible to use "has he," "have you," etc. in questions instead of "does he have" and so on.

Here the meaning is: If it is indeed true that a citizen must at times resign his conscience to the legislator, then why does he have a conscience? It is a rhetorical question.

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  • If "ever" means "on any occasion", does it not conflict with "for a moment" and "in the least degree"? Can you specify what these two phrases mean here?
    – Leon Zero
    May 30, 2017 at 2:17
  • No, there's no conflict. For example, you can say "Have you ever listened to that radio program, even for a minute?"
    – user49640
    May 30, 2017 at 2:23
  • Can you explain "in the least degree"? What does it mean here?
    – Leon Zero
    May 30, 2017 at 2:42
  • It means "to any degree at all," "at all," "to any extent." The word "least" means "smallest" here.
    – user49640
    May 30, 2017 at 2:44
  • If it is indeed true that a citizen must at times resign his conscience to the legislator, does the second sentence mean "why does he still want to keep the conscience though he always give to the legislator"?
    – Leon Zero
    May 30, 2017 at 3:18

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