I love comic books and I met these sentences in a comic book.

"Do not speak in oblique half sentences. Bad habit. Helped stop what?"

What is 'oblique half sentences'? I googled it a lot, but I'm still confused. Does this mean: 'The sentences which are not full sentences' or 'the sentences which can have at least two meanings'? Which one is right? I don't have anyone around me to help me with this. If anyone knows what this means, please help.

  • Here oblique has the meaning "not expressed or done in a direct way". The entire sentence "Do not speak in oblique half sentences" instructs the listener to not use indirect/incomplete half sentences, as it is a bad habit. For instance- "helped stop what?" is such a half sentence. There must be such a half sentence somewhere in the comic context due to which "do not speak in oblique half sentences" is used next. – Manish Giri Aug 3 '14 at 6:07

Oblique half sentences: Incomplete sentences which do not directly or completely convey the intended idea.

You didn't give us the dialog leading into this quote, but I'm guessing it might have been something like:

"So what did this superhero do that was so impressive?" "Helped stop it." "Do not speak in oblique half sentences. Bad habit. Helped stop what?"

In other words, "Helped stop it" (or whatever was actually said) was not a useful response. The speaker shouldn't have assumed that the other person would know what had been stopped.

  • Now I perfectly understand what does 'Oblique half sentences' mean! Thank you so much!! You guys made my day. – Iseayou Aug 3 '14 at 7:14
  • It's not a term with any precision. Oblique has a grammatical meaning, but this is not it. And sentences don't come in rational fractions, so a half sentence simply means less of the sentence than you could have said. Given the examples, the author may be referring to Conversational Deletion – John Lawler Aug 3 '14 at 13:59
  • 'Bad habit' is itself a (perfectly understandable in context) sentence fragment, doubtless thrown in to confirm that it's the obscure examples that constitute the problem. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 3 '14 at 15:51

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