‘How now!’ said Scrooge, caustic and cold as ever. `What do you want with me?’
‘Much!’ -- Marley’s voice, no doubt about it.
‘Who are you?’
‘Ask me who I was.’
‘Who were you then?’ said Scrooge, raising his voice. ‘You’re particular, for a shade.’ He was going to say ‘to a shade,’ but substituted this, as more appropriate.

What is the difference between for a shade and to a shade? I believe shade means ghost.

  • 1
    Please give each question a distinct title - that you can’t get the meaning of something is kind of obvious, otherwise you would not post here. And, even if you want to be polite, just skip the „thank you“ part. We say „thank you“ by upvoting answers. Please look at the edits to your other posts as examples. – Stephie Dec 15 '17 at 20:26
  • Sorry sir, I won't make this kind of mistake again. – user66705 Dec 15 '17 at 20:30
  • No problem! Just a friendly reminder to help you get started here. And if you haven’t yet, you should take the tour and browse our help center to learn more about the site and the Stack Exchange system in general. Welcome! – Stephie Dec 15 '17 at 20:35
  • I've applied some formatting to make your question easier to read, and amended the title so that it is more descriptive. I also removed your definition request, as this is something you should be able to find in any dictionary: particular (about/over something): very definite about what you like and careful about what you choose; synonym: fussy (OALD). – choster Dec 15 '17 at 21:09
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    @ErkhesNyamsaikhan If you are new to Stack Exchange, please be sure to take the site tour and review the help center. You are expected to indicate your initial research attempts and to explain why they have been insufficient; this saves answerers from doing the work you have already done. I have provided you the definition of particular here, but any dictionary would suffice. – choster Dec 15 '17 at 21:43

In this context, particular means picky. From Merriam-Webster:

a : concerned over or attentive to details : meticulous
a very particular gardener
b : nice in taste : fastidious
She's very particular about her clothes.
c : hard to please : exacting
never loses patience even with the most particular customers

Scrooge is saying that Marley is being attentive to a rather unimportant-seeming detail, because Marley corrected his tense.

The "to a shade" vs. "for a shade" bit is a play on two different meanings of "shade."

In "You're particular, for a shade," the implication is that Marley is very picky, compared to other ghosts. (Shade would mean ghost here, as you guessed.)

I can only make an educated guess what the meaning of "You're particular, to a shade" would be since there could be a couple of ways to read it. But I'd choose a meaning for shade here along these lines, again from Merriam-Webster:

a minute difference or variation : nuance

I would then read it to mean something like, "You're very particular, right down to being particular about tiny nuances in meaning."

It's possible that "to a shade" has an idiomatic meaning I'm unaware of, or that it did in Dickens's time, but I couldn't find information about one.

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