English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Confucius already manifests a spirit perfectly conveyed by these words of a much later text : “ If a foreigner comes to China, and lives like a Chinese, then treat him as a Chinese. (self-made)

I am not sure about the notion that "a spirit conveyed by these words" is a good expression, although I know "message conveyed in.." is good. Shall I changed it into:

Confucius already manifests a spirit best embodied/best illustrated in these words of a much later text?

share|improve this question
Belongs in ell.stackexchange.com – Kaz Sep 29 '13 at 21:43
The fact that it is a teaching of Confucius I would think this may belong elsewhere because it is ancient text which has with great effort been translated into English. Often any rules to English are thrown out so as to keep the meaning as unadulterated as possible. Maybe I am not understanding the question. – Charlie Brown Sep 29 '13 at 23:14
'The spirit of these words were manifested (or made manifest) much earlier by Confucius.' – Merk Sep 30 '13 at 3:48

The sentence you’re suggesting is, in my opinion, uncomfortably verbose. How about:

Confucius (or Confucius’ thought) prefigures/anticipates the spirit/sentiments of this much later text:

Also, I feel less anachronistic translation of the quote would use as twice, instead of as once and like once. Hence (with some other minor, optional tweaks):

“If a foreigner comes to China and lives as a Chinese, treat him as a Chinese.”

share|improve this answer

"Convey" means "transport, carry a thing" or, as here, "communicate an idea, a feeling" (not anticipating).

"Mood", "disposition", "attitude", "state of mind", "frame of mind", "principle", "message", or "ethos" are, I believe, better than "spirit".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.