I was reading the Hound of the Baskervilles, and tripped upon this phrase.

'Capital article this on Free Trade.'

I suppose it's the title of the Times article from which Sherlock speculates that the sender of the mysterious letter cut out to paste on the letter.

But, what I find most intriguing is how those words are put together, I have no clue in what that means exactly.

Could anyone "translate" into more clearer wordings?

  • 1
    Can you give some of the surrounding context? – Laurel Dec 8 '18 at 6:30

Punctuation makes it somewhat clearer:

Captial article, this! On free trade.

These are speech patterns that fit a fairly upper class English person from 100 years ago.

"Captial" has a dated meaning of "Excellent". So the first part means "It is an excellent article". But the speaker, realising the ambiguity adds "this", meaning "this one that I am reading". He then adds a description of the subject of the article "free trade" (the idea of allowing countries to buy and sell to each other without charging duties or tariffs — still an important topic in world politics)

so together it means

This is an excellent article on free trade.

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