1. vanilla16
    Offline

    vanilla16 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    U.S.A.

    What does "properly" mean in this sentence? :)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by vanilla16, Mar 13, 2012.

    I was properly ashamed and managed to be pretty quiet for the rest of the day.

    ^ I saw that sentence in a Grandma's Attic book. x)
     
  2. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    I believe in that context it would mean 'appropriately' or 'justifiably'.
     
  3. BlizzardHarlequin
    Offline

    BlizzardHarlequin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ireland
    Usually people from the UK use properly in such a context that it means 'terribly' or said by shadowwalker above me, 'justifiably'
     
  4. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Pretty much what the others said. Properly means correctly or satisfactorily or appropriately (sp??).

    But as Blizzard said in UK English it can be used for very.
     
  5. prettyprettyprettygood
    Offline

    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    Shadowwalker is probably right, but I would read that as 'very ashamed' so it may depend where the writer is from- properly/proper is sometimes used to mean very or really here in the uk.
     
  6. Nakhti
    Offline

    Nakhti Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    16
    In the UK, properly used in such a context = thoroughly, exceedingly, utterly.

    It is often used in British colloquialisms, such as:

    I was proper knackered after running that marathon

    In this sentence 'proper' (note the -ly suffix has been dropped) just means very. It could also be replaced with 'right' and mean the same thing -

    I was right knackered when I got to the top of Everest.

    Hmm, dontcha just love us whacky Brits? :D
     
  7. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,728
    Likes Received:
    4,826
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    A definition of "properly" in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is "suitably; respectably." So saying "I was properly ashamed" essentially means "I was ashamed, and I damn well should have been."
     
  8. Nakhti
    Offline

    Nakhti Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    16
    Relying on dictionary definitions completely ignores context though - a dictionary will only list possible meanings, context will tell you which one is the most likely or only possible meaning.
     
  9. lorilee
    Offline

    lorilee Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Canada
    That was my first thought when I read the sentence.
     
  10. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Go to the Complete OED and you also find: "Completely, thoroughly; exceedingly, very. Now chiefly colloq." It gives the example (amongst others), "1896 Daily News 18 Mar. 3/6 The accused said he got ‘properly drunk’."
     
  11. lorilee
    Offline

    lorilee Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Canada
    looking at the location of the replies, it does seem to be colloquial, very being how those in the UK read it and suitably for those of us in North America. I guess you would have to know the background of the speaker to know how it was meant.
     
  12. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Yes -- and I think you'd have to look at time as well as place -- US English and UK English used to be closer, and in the past the "very" meaning was mainstream, not colloquial in the UK. It goes back a long way, so I'd expect it to have been mainstream in the US at one time too. How long ago was the Grandma's attic book?
     
  13. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    There is a book called Grandma's Attic it was written by someone called Arleta Richardson who was born and brought up in Michigan.

    She was born in 1923 and first book was published in 1994.
     
  14. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,728
    Likes Received:
    4,826
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I took context into account. There were other definitions offered; I used those that made sense in context. I do know how to use a dictionary, Nakhti. :)
     
  15. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    formal UK English: Minstrel's definition = rightly ashamed/I was ashamed, and so I should have been
    idiomatic UK English: properly ashamed = very/thoroughly ashamed
    in Devon/Cornwall 'proper' would be used instead of 'properly', and is very common idiom
    US English: no idea!
     
  16. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Today, it's the same as saying "I was really ashamed", sort of like "I was mortified" (another word for extreme embarrassment we use in UK).
     
  17. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Also proper (but archaic) English. And it's not clear when the proper usage died away, leaving it only in idiomatic use.
     
  18. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    to sum up:

    it could mean either 'very/terribly/etc.' or 'justifiably/appropriately/etc.' depending on what the person who said it meant...

    i'm american born and raised, have been reading british literature since childhood and have traveled and lived in england, and i would use it to mean 'very' and not the other meaning, so i don't see it as only a us/uk thing, but just a matter of style and/or the choice perhaps affected by one's background...
     
  19. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Agreed -- and it might mean both of those; sometimes ambiguity is intentional.
     

Share This Page