nobleness & nobility

celine713

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, friends,
If you depict someone's character is of noble quality, which one do you use:nobility, or nobleness?
 
  • Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It depends on the exact sentence, I think, but "nobleness" is an abstract quality, to my ear, not a trait of a person. Also, you usually have to be explicit in distinguishing the meaning of noble as character trait from that as a social position. Here are some things I might say:

    "She is a person of noble character."

    "She displays [a] nobility of character." (The "a" is optional here.)

    I don't know for sure that it's wrong, but "She displays a nobleness of character" just sounds terribly awkward and artificial, to me.
     

    celine713

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you Old Novice!
    I bumped into this expression in an article writen by John Ruskin, an English essaysit, that goes like this:In proportion to the degree in which it is felt (the felt of beauty in nature)will probably be the degree of the nobleness and beauty of character will be attained.
    I feel this sentence is rather unsmooth as for recitation, especially the word "nobleness" as the word "nobility" is often appeared on the paper and more smooth for reading's sake, that is why I am curious about the nuance between the two...:)
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Thank you Old Novice!
    I bumped into this expression in an article writen by John Ruskin, an English essaysit, that goes like this:

    In proportion to the degree in which it is felt (the felt of beauty in nature) [something:confused:] will probably be the degree of the nobleness and beauty of character [that :confused:]will be attained.

    I feel this sentence is rather unsmooth as for recitation, especially the word "nobleness" as the word "nobility" is often appeared on the paper and more smooth for reading's sake, that is why I am curious about the nuance between the two...:)

    I agree that "nobleness" is awkward, but it is at least used to convey the abstract idea, not the personal characteristic of an individual. It sounds like a pretty formal exposition, however, so perhaps the writer is more concerned about trying to convey the precise idea than with conveying it smoothly.

    What troubles me a lot more than the use of "nobleness" is that I can't figure a way to have the sentence make sense. There are gaps in the structure that leave me completely confused.
     

    celine713

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hi, Old Novice, here is my version of interpretation of this sentence, please have a check:)
    the degree of love of beauty is in proportion to that of the nobleness and beauty of one's character.
    How about that?
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Hi, Old Novice, here is my version of interpretation of this sentence, please have a check:)
    the degree of love of beauty is in proportion to that of the nobleness and beauty of one's character.
    How about that?
    Well, celine713, your sentence is just fine on its own. :) But I have no idea at all as to whether it represents what the original sentence was trying to say, since I still don't understand the original sentence, even after seeing your interpretation of it. I don't see it as saying what you have said, but who can tell for sure, as it's written? :(
     
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