in or out of captivity


In this sentence,


"There is no such animal, in or out of captivity, as a born public speaker."


What does "in or out of captivity" mean?


asked Aug 03 '11 at 02:33 CF LOK New member

1 answer


An animal in captivity is one in a zoo, farm, home or other restricted environment.  An animal out of captivity is one in the wild.  Animals raised in captivity can have different learned behaviors than those in the wild.  There is sometimes debate on whether an animal (or person) behaves in a certain way because of nature or nurture.  The phrase "no such animal, in or out of captivity" expresses that it does not matter whether the person's behavior was formed by nature or nurture - it just doesn't exist.  The person wasn't born with the ability, nor was it a learned behavior.  The writer has used the phrase incorrectly, since he is only arguing one side - that no one is born a public speaker. 


Not that you asked, but I personally would argue the opposite point.  Everyone is born a public speaker.  Babies and young children will speak (or cry or scream) in public until they are taught not to.  ;-)

link answered Aug 03 '11 at 05:51 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Thank you and your explanation for "in or out captivity" helps a lot to understand the view of the writer. Yes, you are very right that the writer has used the phrase incorrectly, because"being born as xxx" implies formed by nature. However, I agree with the writer in the sense that the "public speaking skills" in his statement refers to a kind of intelligent talk, instead of only the abilityto "say" something. CF LOKAug 03 '11 at 06:13

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