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In this sentence:

He has made it his business to reintroduce the theory to a new generation of activists.

  1. Is "has made it his business to" an impolite expression?

  2. Is it a radical expression?

  3. Has it any implicit meaning that he reintroduces the theory, but he shouldn't do it?

EDIT: These answers confused me, First sentence of Source article may help better understanding this expression in the context.

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    There may be a faint hint of the attitude 'when it's really none of his business', but I don't think most people would infer this. It depends on how it's said (if spoken). 'He has worked hard / tirelessly // He has devoted himself ....' are obviously on the positive, commendatory side. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 27 '14 at 11:26
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To make [a task] one's business is to devote oneself to the task, and treat it as a priority. There is often an implication that the person is taking on a task that no one else is willing or able to do:

When I saw what state the club's books were in, I made it my business to ensure that all of the accounts balanced correctly.

Depending on the context, this may be a welcome and necessary activity, or it may be seen as presumptuous. You should not automatically assume that the use of "made it his business" indicates that the person is acting impolitely; you must figure that out from context.

3

All it does is to emphasise that someone has gone about something in a very businesslike way, with determination.

It is neither polite nor impolite. And it is not a radical expression. But it is often spoken with irony e.g. emphasising a business-like way of dealing with something that is not normally a business matter, in order to get over the idea of a determined approach. e.g. 'They made it their business to make me feel (un)welcome.'

Here are a few further typical expressions:

'I shall make it my business to help the new family settle in as smoothly as possible'.

' I shall make it my business to ensure that his request is turned down'.

'I shall make it my business to find out as much as possible about that company'.

'He made it his business to be as offensive as possible'

'She made it her business to be as helpful as possible'.

  • 2
    There may be some pondial difference here, but, as a native speaker, I don't associate "making it my business" with being "businesslike", almost the opposite. Businesslike is cool, detached, efficient. If I make something my business I am telegraphing that I'm strongly motivated for some reason to do something, even though I might as easily (and perhaps should) avoid getting involved. – Spehro Pefhany Mar 27 '14 at 11:43
  • No, there is no 'pondial' difference. You say 'businesslike is cool, detached, efficient'. I have worked in various parts of the world. Compared to the Japanese there is very little difference between the way Americans and British do their business. But one attitude in business reigns everywhere and that is that it is done 'with determination'. – WS2 Mar 27 '14 at 11:51
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    My barber cuts hair in businesslike manner, but I wouldn't say he looks particularly determined. The OED defines "businesslike" as "practical, methodical, systematic". I think one could replace "make it my business" with "make it my concern" with no change in meaning. – Spehro Pefhany Mar 27 '14 at 12:08
  • @SpehroPefhany For most people their 'business'is the next most important thing to them after their nearest and dearest, and the two things are connected. Business is of vital importance in most people's lives. So if I make it 'my business' to see that you get a warm welcome, that means it is something I am taking very seriously. Making you 'my concern' I am sure does not sound anything like as reassuring. – WS2 Mar 27 '14 at 14:25
  • I edited my question, please consider source article. – Arash Mousavi Mar 27 '14 at 16:02
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"has made it his business to..." means to take on a cause and be an advocate for something. It means the person is applying himself to a challenging course of activity and has made it an important part of his work. In other words, the person has decided it is up to him to do something that others are not doing, and that he deems worthy. When someone has made it his business to "reintroduce the theory" it means he thinks the theory has been neglected by other educators, and he feels it is important and necessary that it be included in the curriculum.

This type of educator is noteworthy because they take on challenging subjects that deserve to be taught. Rather than stick to the textbook curriculum, they bring up subjects that should be known but are usually neglected in other classes.

  • I edited my question, please consider source article. – Arash Mousavi Mar 27 '14 at 16:02
  • My answer still applies to the source article. The person has decided to be an advocate for a subject or viewpoint not currently taught. – Cindy Page Oct 20 '14 at 13:39
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  1. impolite without doubt. but it has a number of implications. it could be considered least polite if used figuratively. it could also have connotations of emphasis in the former. dedicated, even devoted may be polite I would consider using the very word business in such situations to have often times sly, negative connotations.

  2. it could be interpreted as radical in a situation that describes an individuals purpose that centres on servitude but otherwise the use of this word or phrase within a sentence is more often than not figurative and negative. personally I would avoid it unless to emphasise through a statement or for justification.

  3. It's subject to the usage and quite the opposite subject to your premise. It's more "he has 'chosen' to do it" (than not) - as opposed to that he shouldn't or avoid doing it.

  • I edited my question, please consider source article. – Arash Mousavi Mar 27 '14 at 16:03
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    "Impolite without doubt?" Are you sure about that? What about these bloggers' comments: Mother Teresa lived in India .. she made it her business to take care of as many of [the sick] as she could. Or: Connie Rice, the civil rights advocate and agitator who has made it her business to balance the scales of justice in Los Angeles. Or: Miss Kate Marsden made it her business to investigate the condition of lepers in Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Siberia. In some contexts, I'd regard the phrase as highly complimentary. – J.R. Mar 27 '14 at 17:22
  • Agree with J.R. - it can be downright complimentary in U.S. English, at least. It implies that the person cares enough and has the tenacity to get a job done. Perhaps this is a regional/cultural difference, though, and a good reminder to be careful with phrases like this when writing for a cross-cultural audience. – michelle Mar 27 '14 at 17:39

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