Man has no more right to say an uncivil thing than to act one

According to me the meaning of this phrase is:

Man has equal right to say an uncivil thing and to act an uncivil thing.

Am I right?

  • [buzzer for:] than to act one. to act an uncivil thing is not really English....
    – Lambie
    Nov 5, 2019 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


You are essentially correct. However, "equal right" leaves out some of the implication of the sentence - a more complete rephrasing would be something like

Saying an uncivil thing is no better than doing an uncivil thing.

The original phrase uses "no more" to emphasize not simply that the actions are equal, but that they are equal in spite of what others might think (that saying something uncivil is a lesser offence). It's calling attention to the fact that someone might think they have more right to the former, but that the writer does not agree.

  • I don't agree that the original sentence is saying that you have zero right: it might imply that, but it does not say it.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 3, 2018 at 22:40
  • @ColinFine After some consideration I changed my answer - I was over-simplifying. Thanks for the feedback.
    – Alan T.
    Nov 5, 2018 at 17:12

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