Does "a moral conscience about those in the new cities" mean:

  1. To feel guilty about the workers in new cities

  2. To make the workers in new cities feel guilty

  3. To feel responsible about the workers in new cities

  4. To make the workers in new cities feel responsible


There was an unresolved tension between a reverence for wild nature and the desire to colonise it. This led to a lyrical nostalgia for an untainted countryside and a revulsion at its increasing industrialisation, to the view that rural people possessed a natural nobility and to a moral conscience about those in the new cities whose labours were necessary to keep the profitable new industries flourishing.

(Art and Science by Sian Ede)

  • Either 1 or 3 or somewhere in between. Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


That whole sentence is very badly constructed or, if not, the punctuation is wrong. Was this book ever independently proof-read?

conscience noun [C or U] uk /ˈkɒn.ʃəns/ us /ˈkɑːn-/ C2 the part of you that judges how moral your own actions are and makes you feel guilty about bad things that you have done or things you feel responsible for:


Ede has perpetrated a pleonasm with the phrase "moral conscience". I'm losing respect for this author.


I think it is supposed to mean 3.

  • 1
    The only part of your answer which is, strictly speaking, part of an answer, is your last sentence ("I think it's supposed to mean 3"). But you provide no justification for that assertion. Please add one.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 14:15
  • I agree that the quoted language is fuzzy and that the intended answer (of what appears to be a poorly devised multiple-choice test question) is probably 3. My argument would be that "moral conscience" suggests something more effectual and prospective than simply feeling bad about something, which pushes "responsible about [or for]" ahead of "guilty about." But really both the quotation and the multiple choices are expressed rather poorly.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 19:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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