English as a Second Language/Found a definition


QUESTION: Hello Amy,
what does "take leave" mean? also, how can I rewrite "I shall take leave to say"?

John Owen wrote this in the 17th century:

"I shall take leave to say, that it is no safe plea for many to insist on, that tithes are due and divine, as they speak,- that is, by a binding law of God,- now under the gospel. . . . The precise law of tithing is not confirmed in the gospel . . . it is impossible any one certain rule should be prescribed unto all persons" (Works, vol. 21, pp. 324, 325).


ANSWER: Usually "to take leave" means to go away or to leave but I have a feeling that's not the case here... and I have no idea what to substitute it with.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Amy, the Oxford English Dictionary provides a definition that I believe to be the case here:

"to take leave (const. inf.): used as a formula to draw attention, with a somewhat ponderous affectation of presumption, to a truth or state of affairs;"

Oxford dictionary provides these examples:
"1814 T. S. Raffles Substance of Minute on Java 100, I take leave to observe, that the state of landed tenure here is very different from what it is reported to be in other parts of Java.

 1938 ‘M. Innes’ Lament for Maker i. viii. 53 We may take leave to think the silly body stood there in the sleet and cursed the lure of the wanderer roundly.

 1681 Grew Musæum i. v. i. 86 The Head of the Tuck-Fish.‥ The Snout is not so flat as in the Rapier-fish, but thicker and rounder, more like a Tuck, from whence {I take leave} to name it."

Even though I found what I believe to be the definition of "I take leave", I don't know how to rewrite this sentence "I shall take leave to say".

Do you have any ideas on rewriting this?

Nice find Henrique.

I guess I was right to assume this isn't contemporary English and as you know this is not my area of expertise.

As far as rewriting the sentence, how about "I would/should/shall emphasize that  it is no safe plea for many to insist on..."  

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Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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