respected, respectable

  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd say the word you are looking for here is 'respectable', but it's a very odd sentence, and nobody would ever say it. Not even someone who thought it was OK to talk to someone like this.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My first inclination is to allow her to map her own destiny and keep quiet.

    If she is someone I know and I care about the relationship she has with her spouse, I might stop by to say hello. The knowledge that I am a friend of her husband it all that is required to make an impact. I would still refrain from making any judgemental statements.

    If I were writing a novel and I wanted a confrontation, I would say, "Think about what you are doing. Think about your family". None of the suggested words would make it into the conversation.

    Crossed posts with Heypresto and I see he would also have some reticence using any of these words in this situation.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    [Edited to remove quote from now-deleted post. DonnyB - moderator]
    I don' t see anything in the original post that suggests anything beyond (possibly) inappropriate flirting. On the other hand flirting might be her standard behavior and nothing at all could be wrong.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    If you disapproved of the woman's behaviour, you might wish her to change her ways and behave as a respectable woman should.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Chatting up men in bars is not what a respectable married woman might be expected to do.

    A decent woman...hmm, I'm not even sure what that would mean nowadays. A decent person has high moral standards in things that matter. I don't think flirtation is incompatible with being a morally decent woman. Others will certainly not agree.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    OK, so "decent" would mean something completely different?
    It is all relative. I don't make those judgements in general.

    Mother Teresa, by most standards would be considered an exemplary woman. But she did not cover her face with a burka so I suppose in some cultures she would not be considered "decent".
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    OK, so "decent" would mean something completely different?
    No. Stop the wrongdoing and finally become a decent woman is certainly something that you could say if you wanted to make a judgmental comment about this woman's life. In this context, decent and respectable should mean pretty much the same thing.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Chatting up men in bars is not what a respectable married woman might be expected to do.

    A decent woman...hmm, I'm not even sure what that would mean nowadays. A decent person has high moral standards in things that matter. I don't think flirtation is incompatible with being a morally decent woman. Others will certainly not agree.
    My friend's wife flirts with all men. Her husband says it is her personality and the flirting is harmless and means nothing.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Respectability" has a lot to do with how you are perceived by society, especially your neighbours who are quick to judge you. It has to do with your reputation.

    "Decency" is a virtue that you may or may not possess, regardless of how others see you.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    NO native speaker of English from Britain or the USA would ever utter those words, whatever word you put in the blank.
    I agree. But do you think that is because of language or because we do not perceive judgemental behavior appropriate? Indeed the "Stop wrongdoing..." offends my position on judgemental behavior.

    I could never say this because of my view of how I should behave. From a pure language point of view I am guessing any of these would work with "Stop wrongdoing..."

    (Perhaps she should be beheaded for drinking in a bar with a man that is not her husband.)
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I could never say this because of my view of how I should behave. From a pure language point of view I am guessing any of these would word with "Stop wrongdoing..."
    Your thoughts about the topic make a lot of sense, Packard. That sentence could be natural as a remark from a fellow who was angry because he saw his best friend's wife flirting with some jerk in a bar. It could also be natural as a remark from a moralistic type who felt entitled to make public comments about the behavior of loose women.

    Respected seems less likely than the other two options for that sentence. Stop the wrongdoing sounds fairly stiff and unlikely.
     
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    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    I agree. But do you think that is because of language or because we do not perceive judgemental behavior appropriate? Indeed the "Stop wrongdoing..." offends my position on judgemental behavior.
    Both. To stick with the language, as this is a language forum:

    Stop the wrongdoing - unnatural in the 21st century when address to someone in reference to their behaviour.
    and finally become - completely unnatural in this context. The 'finally' suggests that the speaker believes the woman address has a long history of wrong doing.
    a decent/respectable woman - OK from the language point of view.

    I can imagine such words coming from a 19th century vicar - but he wouldn't be a bar. If I actually heard these words, I would believe I'd stumbled accidentally onto the set of a poorly scripted film.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Both. To stick with the language, as this is a language forum:

    Stop the wrongdoing - unnatural in the 21st century when address to someone in reference to their behaviour.
    and finally become - completely unnatural in this context. The 'finally' suggests that the speaker believes the woman address has a long history of wrong doing.
    a decent/respectable woman - OK from the language point of view.

    I can imagine such words coming from a 19th century vicar - but he wouldn't be a bar. If I actually heard these words, I would believe I'd stumbled accidentally onto the set of a poorly scripted film.
    Yeah, I would more likely hear, "Yo, bitch! Why are you whoring around in a bar like this?"

    Note: More colorful language occurs to me, but is probably not required to make this point.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    He married his long-time girlfriend and made a decent woman of her.

    That would be said tongue-in-cheek nowadays.
    Edit: see below.

    I would quite strongly reject any talk of the lady in question becoming "a decent woman", unless it's being said in jest.
     
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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    He married his long-time girlfriend and made a decent woman of her.

    That would be said tongue-in-cheek nowadays. I would quite strongly reject any talk of the lady in question becoming "a decent woman", unless it's being said in jest.
    In the USA it would be "made an honest woman of her". Why "honest"? I don't have a clue.
     
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